Turow Speaks to Class

Says Luck is Important Ingredient in Life

Class Day speaker Scott L. Turow did not tell the Class of '92 yesterday that the secret to success is hard work. Or ambition, or preparedness or persistence.

In fact, the Harvard Law School graduate who authored the bestseller Presumed Innocent avoided all such Commencement-type cliches.

"Circumstances cannot be controlled," said Turow to the crowd of approximately 2000 seated in Tercentenary Theater. "Life is chance, and talent is only one ingredient."

Turow pointed to his own life story as evidence that for the graduating seniors, facing a job market that offers scarce opportunities, success would depend mostly on "being at the right place, at the right time."

Tracing his life story from his undergraduate days at Amherst College as a struggling and oft-rejected writer to his current days of professional success, Turow explained how he had been able to reconcile the dreams of the novelist with the plans of a lawyer.


As the audience basked in the warm spring sun, Turow discussed his decision to go into law. Parents who came of age during the 1960s may have identified with Turow's shift from liberal idealism to the realization that he wanted to succeed financially.

"I thought if there was a ruling class, then lawyers were a chain-mail fist," Turow said.

Turow did not encourage members of the Class of '92 to sit around and wait for fate to smile on them, however.

"Writers write. They don't hand around in neighborhood bars and talk about it," Turow said.

This year's class graduates in the aftermath of the riots that shook Los Angeles and other U.S. Cities last month, Turow noted that rifts between socio-economic classes have grown alarmingly large and will probably continue to grow.

This year's Class Day speakers seemed to share an attitude of pragmatism, each talkingabout the small things that individual graduateswould be able to do in the world.

Cara A. Dunne '92 presented the ceremonies'opening welcome, urging seniors to continuelistening to diverse opinions after leavingHarvard.

Charles E. Roemer '92 gave the Harvard Oration,asking graduates to "say `yes', say 'fantastic'and change a life forever."

The Radcliffe Oration was delivered in style byRebecca D. Knowles '92, who compared Harvardstudents to "tuna fish" and "tuna fishers." Sheamused the audience with her metaphoricalexplanation of the process of learning, which shecharacterized as either like fishing or likeswimming safely under water.

David H. Mandel gave brief glimpses of hisundergraduate life in the Ivy Oration, with someassistance from a drum roll