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University President Drew G. Faust urged members of the Class of 2013 to pursue “lives of running toward” in her Baccalaureate Address Tuesday afternoon.
Citing the various first responders, runners, and spectators who ran to the aid of those injured during the Boston Marathon bombing, Faust said that “running toward” entails facing unknown challenges in pursuit of service and individual passions.
“‘Running toward’ is a way of being, an attitude, a capacity for courage, a kind of grace,” she said, according to a copy of her remarks as prepared for delivery. “Living a life of running toward is what a liberal arts education has helped prepare you to do.”
She related the theme of “running toward” to what she called her “Parking Space Theory of Life.”
“Don’t park 10 blocks away from your destination because you think you won’t find a closer space,” she said. “Go to where you want to be. You can always circle back to where you have to be.”
She also addressed the Government 1310 cheating scandal that made national headlines earlier this year, asking graduates to consider the value of winning and its relation to success.
“We recognize that winning, or the need to win or to present ourselves as winners, can at some point become a form of losing,” Faust said. “A meaningful life can recede in an endless string of contests.... What, after all, does “success” mean? What does a good life look like?”
She made reference to various accomplishments of members of the senior class, including the launch of “Sex Week,” the creation of the world’s largest box fort, and—eliciting an especially resounding round of applause from seniors—Harvard’s first victory in the NCAA basketball tournament.
Faust’s speech was one part of a larger service that included a salutation and concluding blessing from Jonathan L. Walton, minister in Memorial Church and Divinity School professor. Students performed readings from the texts of five different religions in both English and their original languages. A Commencement Choir, conducted by Memorial Church Choirmaster Edward E. Jones, sang several anthems and hymns at various points throughout the service.
Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds, whose departure was officially announced hours before, was in attendance, but as per custom, she did not speak during the event.
—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @NikitaKansra.
—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @syweinstock.
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