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Hank Aaron Joins in Class Day Festivities

By Douglas M. Pravda

Baseball star Hank Aaron told the class of 1995 that they have to "get to work learning the rest of the alphabet" now that they have earned an A.B. from Harvard and Radcliffe.

Aaron, who holds the major league record for career home runs, was the Class Day speaker at yesterday afternoon's exercises in Tercentenary Theater.

When Aaron rose to speak, many in the audience were already soaking wet from the heavy rain falling intermittently throughout the afternoon.

But by the time Aaron finished his speech, the rain had ceased, the umbrellas were tucked away and the crowd rose in a standing ovation.

Aaron told the class of 1995 that "this day represents a fulfillment of dreams."

He cautioned them that they must continue to prepare for the changing world that they will face after graduation.

"The climate and condition [of the real world] will be much less friendly then it was at Harvard and Radcliffe," he said.

But he added that he thinks a Harvard education will prepare its graduates for success.

"I think you will agree that much of what you have learned is the acquiredexperience of other people, I am confident thatyour success is just one inning away," he said.

Aaron told seniors that they had theopportunity and obligation to help free the worldfrom racism and inequality.

"You will have the opportunity to set the tonefor the next generation of young people," he said."In my youth, racism, inequality and injusticewere accepted as just the way things were. Todayit seems we have come full circle...The morethings change the more they stay the same."

He said he believes that minorities have yet toachieve the racial equality they deserve, and heharshly criticized the nation's conservativeattitude toward affirmative action.

"For more than 30 years, the country has beenless than aggressive in leveling the playingfield," he said. "Our country seems bent onplaying a game with the hopes and aspirations of apeople that for more than 300 years have beenunequal participants in society."

Aaron told the class of 1995 that it is up tothem to provide leadership to build a society ofthe future.

"To whom much is given, much is expected," hesaid, in a Biblical reference. "There is a worldout there beyond the gates of Harvard andRadcliffe that is waiting for leadership."

"If not now, when? If not you, then who?" heconcluded.

In the introductory remarks to Aaron's speech,Class Marshal Heidi M. Thompson '95 introducedAaron as someone who has spoken out on others'behalf.

"He took his status as one of thegreatest...and he has consistently given his timeand his self to work for others who have not had avoice, because he knows that he has a voice, agreat hammering voice," she said.

When Aaron rose to speak, he paused for severalseconds while photographers rushed to take hispicture.

"I am truly honored to be here," he began. "Iwas reluctant to accept until my wife Billie, whois much more in tune with the academic communitythan I am, insisted that there are two invitationsthat you do not turn down. One is an invitationto the White House and the other an invitation toHarvard and Radcliffe University."

The class marshals invited Aaron in April whenhe came to speak at Mather House at a receptionsponsored by the Harvard Foundation.

After the ceremonies were over, Aaron wasbesieged by fans seeking his autograph as Harvardpolice sought to keep crowds away.

He gave a brief interview for the Channel 56television station and signed several autographsbefore being escorted into Memorial Church.

He emerged on the other side of the Churchseveral minutes later after the crowd haddissipated, and got into the back seat of awaiting car, along with Director of the HarvardFoundation Dr. S. Allen Counter, who is a friend

Aaron told seniors that they had theopportunity and obligation to help free the worldfrom racism and inequality.

"You will have the opportunity to set the tonefor the next generation of young people," he said."In my youth, racism, inequality and injusticewere accepted as just the way things were. Todayit seems we have come full circle...The morethings change the more they stay the same."

He said he believes that minorities have yet toachieve the racial equality they deserve, and heharshly criticized the nation's conservativeattitude toward affirmative action.

"For more than 30 years, the country has beenless than aggressive in leveling the playingfield," he said. "Our country seems bent onplaying a game with the hopes and aspirations of apeople that for more than 300 years have beenunequal participants in society."

Aaron told the class of 1995 that it is up tothem to provide leadership to build a society ofthe future.

"To whom much is given, much is expected," hesaid, in a Biblical reference. "There is a worldout there beyond the gates of Harvard andRadcliffe that is waiting for leadership."

"If not now, when? If not you, then who?" heconcluded.

In the introductory remarks to Aaron's speech,Class Marshal Heidi M. Thompson '95 introducedAaron as someone who has spoken out on others'behalf.

"He took his status as one of thegreatest...and he has consistently given his timeand his self to work for others who have not had avoice, because he knows that he has a voice, agreat hammering voice," she said.

When Aaron rose to speak, he paused for severalseconds while photographers rushed to take hispicture.

"I am truly honored to be here," he began. "Iwas reluctant to accept until my wife Billie, whois much more in tune with the academic communitythan I am, insisted that there are two invitationsthat you do not turn down. One is an invitationto the White House and the other an invitation toHarvard and Radcliffe University."

The class marshals invited Aaron in April whenhe came to speak at Mather House at a receptionsponsored by the Harvard Foundation.

After the ceremonies were over, Aaron wasbesieged by fans seeking his autograph as Harvardpolice sought to keep crowds away.

He gave a brief interview for the Channel 56television station and signed several autographsbefore being escorted into Memorial Church.

He emerged on the other side of the Churchseveral minutes later after the crowd haddissipated, and got into the back seat of awaiting car, along with Director of the HarvardFoundation Dr. S. Allen Counter, who is a friend

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