>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: As marshal of the university,
it is my honor to declare open the proceedings of the college diploma ceremony of the 527th
convocation of the University of Chicago and to introduce the university’s 13th President,
Robert J. Zimmer. Please be seated. [Applause.]
>>PRES. ZIMMER: Good afternoon and welcome to the college diploma ceremony. We’re very
pleased that you’re able to be with us to celebrate the hard work, personal growth and
overall achievement that we recognize today with the degrees I conferred this morning
and the diplomas that we are about to award. The University of Chicago is a complex institution
with many schools and divisions in addition to the college, awarding many different degrees.
The college, however, plays a very particular and central role in the fabric of the university.
It is the one part of the university in which students’ education is, by design, connected
to all the divisions and schools. Consequently, it is the one place where faculty from across
the university come together to craft a common curriculum for the students that they share.
In this way, the college is an expression of the values and fundamental principles of
this university and an important intellectual meeting ground for all students and faculty,
testing ideas from students and faculty with a startling range of interests and perspectives.
Today we celebrate your individual achievements and welcome you as new alumni of the university.
But we also celebrate your role in the ongoing history of the university, in the development
of the very distinctive education and culture that, in your time here, you helped to reinforce
and renew with your work every day. I hope you enjoy this moment and the personal milestone
it represents, and I hope you take pride in your individual achievements as well as your
contributions past and future to the stewardship of one of the great treasures of higher education
in the world, the college of the University of Chicago. Congratulations.
[Applause.]>>As Provost of the university. It is my
pleasure to introduce the class of 2015‑2016 who will be offering remarks this afternoon.
They will be speaking in the following order. Kristopher pittard, Hanna Gitlin and Konje
>>STUDENT: Yeah, Kris! [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
>>KRIS PITTARD: PRESIDENT ZIMMER, DEAN BOYER, HONORED FACULTY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND FELLOW
MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 2016. FOR WHAT HAS TO BE ABOUT THE MILLIONTH TIME,
I’D LIKE TO CONGRATULATE US ALL. REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU CAME FROM OR WHERE
YOU’RE GOING, GRADUATING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO – GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE AT
ALL ‑‑ IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPRESSIVE. 7 one that we should all be proud of. So congratulations
to us, Class of 2016. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
AND WE REALLY ARE TODAY’S CLASS OF 2016. WE’RE NOT THE SAME GROUP THAT CAME IN FOUR
YEARS AGO, AND WE’RE NOT EVEN THE SAME CLASS AS ONE QUARTER AGO.
SOME OF US HAVE BEEN HERE FOR THREE YEARS ‑ #OVERACHIEVERS ‑ AND SOME OF US HAVE
BEEN HERE FOR FIVE OR MAYBE MORE. SOME PEOPLE TRANSFERRED, SOME WENT ON LEAVE.
AND TWO PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE HERE THIS AFTERNOON PASSED AWAY.
SO IF WE CAN’T EVEN SAY THAT WE ALL SPENT THE SAME FOUR YEARS HERE, WHAT CAN WE SAY
THAT WE HAVE IN COMMON? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE
UCHICAGO EXPERIENCE. WHAT WAS QUINTESSENTIAL FOR SOMEONE COULD
BE PERIPHERAL FOR SOMEONE ELSE. MY UCHICAGO EXPERIENCE WAS DEFINED BY BOOTH
AND WENDT HOUSES AND BY BASICALLY BEING A BAND DORK.
OTHER PEOPLE WILL LOOK BACK ON THEIR TIME HERE AND SEE IT DOMINATED BY SPORTS, ECONOMICS,
RSO’s, OR TRULY EMBRACING THE CITY OF CHICAGO OR JUST LIVING IN THE REG.
SO WHAT ON EARTH DO WE ALL HAVE IN COMMON? I THINK MAYBE JUST MAYBE THERE ARE THREE THINGS:
WE ALL CAME HERE. WE ALL DID THE REAL LIFE EQUIVALENT OF THE
FACEBOOK “WOW” EMOJI THE FIRST TIME WE SAW DEAN BOYER’S MOUSTACHE.
[Laughter] AND NONE OF US EVER OPENED OUR COPIES OF “DOING
HONEST WORK IN COLLEGE.” [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
I never even got the book. BUT I’D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THAT FIRST ONE.
EVEN THOUGH ALL OF US CHOSE TO COME HERE FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, WE WERE ALL HERE; WE HAVE
ALL LIVED UCHICAGO WITH EACH OTHER. WHEN I LOOK OUT AT THIS CROWD, I SEE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
DONE INCREDIBLE THINGS. WHETHER THEY WROTE BRILLIANT ESSAYS, MADE
A REAL LIFE PATRONUS FOR SCAV, OR JUST GOT EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP EVERY NIGHT. I KNOW THAT
THERE ARE EVEN MORE OF US WHO I NEVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO MEET.
I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL THAT INCREDIBLE PERSON TO
SOMEBODY ELSE AT THIS SCHOOL, THAT BY VIRTUE OF BEING HERE TODAY WE’VE ALL DONE INCREDIBLE
THINGS, NO MATTER HOW VISIBLE THEY WERE ON CAMPUS, OR HOW MANY FACEBOOK LIKES THEY GOT
US. BUT AS WE CELEBRATE TODAY, WE ALSO LOOK AT
THE FUTURE, I THINK ALL OF US, WITH SOME MIX OF EXCITEMENT, NERVOUSNESS, AND WONDERING
IF PEOPLE IN THE REAL WORLD WILL GIVE US STRANGE LOOKS WHEN WE MENTION MARX.
BUT AFTER YEARS OF LIVING THE “LIFE OF THE MIND”, HOW DO WE CARRY THAT LIFE FORWARD
INTO THE REAL WORLD AND GIVE IT MEANING? HOW DO WE TRANSITION FROM OFTENTIMES DECADES OF
PREPARING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO ACTUALLY BEGINNING TO MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE?
BECAUSE AS UNCLE BEN POINTED OUT TWO SPIDERMAN REBOOTS AGO, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT
RESPONSIBILITY. AND I THINK THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT FALLS
TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED HERE AND
USE IT TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. NOW, THE WAY THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US
DOES THAT WILL BE DIFFERENT. IT MAY BE SOMEONE FIGURING OUT A WAY TO SOLVE
WORLD HUNGER. IT MIGHT ALSO BE HELPING SOMEONE STRUGGLING
WITH THEIR IDENTITY. IT COULD EVEN BE TEACHING IN A CLASSROOM OF
FOURTH‑GRADERS OR FOURTH‑YEAR COLLEGE STUDENTS.
It’s probably more in common with those two groups than we’d like to admit.
And, yes, finding our way to do good in this world will be incredibly hard.
BUT SO WAS EVERYTHING WE DID HERE.But after years of seeing all of us making the impossible
into the routine, I know we can do it. Thank you.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>Hanna: Thanks, guys.
>>HANNAH GITLIN: GRADUATION MAKES THE SHORT LIST OF BIG LIFE MOMENTS.
AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, THE “GRADUATION” SECTION AT THE HALLMARK STORE IS AT LEAST
AS BIG AS THE “NEW BABY” SECTION. IT’S FUNNY HOW HALLMARK HAS A MONOPOLY ON
MEMORIES. THERE IS NO HALLMARK SENTIMENT THAT ADEQUATELY
SUMS UP OUR TIME HERE. THERE’S NO “SORRY IT WAS SO COLD AT SUMMER
BREEZE” CARD. Though on a day like today that seems like
a blessing. THERE’S NO “WHAT HUM ARE YOU IN?” CARD
FOR FIRST YEARS TO SEND ONE ANOTHER FLIRTATIOUSLY. THERE’S NO CARD THAT SAYS “ROSES ARE RED
/ VIOLETS ARE BLUE / I THINK IT’S SEVENTH WEEK, BUT IT COULD BE EIGHTH WEEK, TOO.”
NOR SHOULD THERE BE. THOSE WOULD BE TERRIBLE CARDS.
50 YEARS FROM NOW, WHEN YOU FIND A BOX OF GRADUATION CARDS IN YOUR BASEMENT, YOU’LL
KNOW THAT “CONGRATS, YOU DID IT” DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY OF WHAT YOU DID HERE,
BUT I’LL GIVE HALLMARK A BREAK ON THAT ONE. IT’S HARD TO THINK OF ANYTHING THAT COULD.
GRADUATION HAPPENS NEATLY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THIS CEREMONY, BUT COLLEGE HAPPENS MESSILY,
IN VAGUELY REMEMBERED BITS AND PIECES THAT RESIST ORDERLY CLICHÉS.
THE PARTICULARS OF THIS CEREMONY MAY JUST GO THE WAY OF BLURRILY REMEMBERED SCAV ITEMS,
FRANTICALLY COMPLETED SOSC PAPERS, AND ALL THE MATH THAT WE HUMANITIES MAJORS LEARNED
IN HIGH SCHOOL. BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT’S OKAY, BECAUSE I KNOW
AT LEAST ONE THING WE’LL ALL REMEMBER ABOUT TODAY.
THE STUPID HAT. WHY ON EARTH IS IT SO POORLY ENGINEERED?
[Laughter] MAYBE NOW THAT WE HAVE AN ENGINEERING SCHOOL,
WE CAN FIGURE OUT ON A MOLECULAR LEVEL WHY THESE PLASTIC DEATH TRAPS WON’T STAY ON
OUR HEADS WITHOUT BOBBY PINS, SUPERGLUE, AND WISHING REALLY HARD.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] BUT MAYBE THAT’S WISHFUL THINKING.
MAYBE GRADUATION CAP TECHNOLOGY HAS PROGRESSED AS FAR AS IT EVER WILL.
BUT MAYBE SOMEDAY WHEN WE’RE SCANNING THE IMPOSSIBLY IMMENSE DATABASES INSIDE OF OUR
HEADS, WE WILL BE STRUCK BY THE REMEMBERED FEELING OF PLASTICKY SATIN AGAINST SKIN AND
SAY TO OURSELVES, “AH YES, THAT WAS WHAT GRADUATION WAS LIKE.”
YES, THESE HATS ARE WEIRD AND UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT MEMORY ISN’T ALWAYS EASY OR COMFORTABLE,
EITHER. WE HAVE MILESTONES LIKE GRADUATION, AND SYMBOLS
LIKE THE CAP AND GOWN, TO HELP GIVE STRUCTURE TO THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES ABOUT OURSELVES.
BUT THE STORIES THAT MAKE IT ONTO OUR COLLEGE CURRICULUM, IT’S NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE A
STRUCTURE, BUT BECAUSE THEY IN SOME WAY CHANGE A STRUCTURE.
AREN’T YOUR MOST MEMORABLE COLLEGE STORIES NOT THE ONES THAT FIT NEATLY ONTO A HALLMARK
CARD, BUT RATHER THE ONES WHERE YOU FELT SOMETHING INSIDE YOURSELF CHANGE IN SOME SMALL, BUT
IMPORTANT WAY? IT’S EASY TO REMEMBER COBB HALL AS A PRETTY
BUILDING, BUT ITS IVY‑COVERED WALLS ARE FAR LESS IMPORTANT THAN ALL THE TINY WAYS
YOU’VE CHANGED INSIDE THOSE WALLS. IMAGINE THAT YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS AN ENVELOPE.
YOU RIP IT OPEN AND TAKE OUT THE CARD THAT DWELLS INSIDE.
THE FRONT IS BLANK, SO YOU FLIP IT OVER. BUT THE BACK IS BLANK, TOO.
YOU OPEN IT UP. IT’S BLANK.
CONSIDER GRADUATION A BLANK HALLMARK CARD. 50 YEARS FROM NOW, WHAT YOU’LL HAVE IS WHAT
YOU WRITE IN IT. Thank you.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
>>KONJE MACHINI: HELLO, HELLO, THANK YOU. THERE’S A CAT THAT LIVES IN THE ALLEY BEHIND
MY APARTMENT. IT’S A FAT CAT.
I’VE TAKEN TO CALLING HIM BERNIE—MADOFF, NOT SANDERS.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS IS NOT THE TYPE OF CAT YOU WANT TO TAKE HOME TO YOUR PARENTS.
BUT EVEN WITH ALL HIS FLAWS, BERNIE HAS BECOME A FAMILIAR FACE, SOMETHING EXPECTED.
I WOULDN’T PET HIM, BUT I DON’T MIND WHEN HE EATS MY TRASH.
AND I’D BE SAD TO SEE HIM GO. TO BORROW AN IDEA FROM A FRIEND, BERNIE IS
A PART OF MY COMMUNITY. COMMUNITY’S A REALLY WEIRD THING IN COLLEGE.
FROM THE MOMENT O‑WEEK STARTED, WE ALL GOT REAL BUSY DOING THE WORK OF FINDING IT.
BY THE END OF O‑WEEK, YOU’RE GOLDEN. YOU’VE GOT IT!
REST ASSURED, BY FIFTH WEEK, IT COULD LOOK VERY DIFFERENT.
NOW, FAST FORWARD TO YOUR SECOND OR THIRD YEAR. MAYBE YOU’RE LEAVING THE DORMS FOR
AN APARTMENT. YOU’RE EXCITED TO ‘LIVE ON YOUR OWN’
BUT YOU’RE AFRAID THAT YOU’LL HAVE TO START OVER AGAIN.
YOU’LL MISS YOUR HOUSEMATES. EVEN THE WEIRD ONE WHO ATE GRILLED
CHICKEN BREASTS FOR EVERY MEAL AT BARTLETT. THEY, TOO, WERE A PART OF YOUR COMMUNITY!
SO, EVENTUALLY YOU START TO FILL OUT THE OLD CONTOURS AND MAYBE SOME NEW ONES.
COMMUNITY IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU’RE WORKING AT.
IT’S NEVER A FINISHED PROJECT. COMMUNITY MORPHS, SHRINKS, AND GROWS.
IT IS BUILT, AND IT IS SHATTERED. IN TRIUMPH AND ACHIEVEMENT, WE CELEBRATE THE
COMMUNITY. IN TRAGEDY AND LOSS, THE COMMUNITY MOURNS,
SOMETHING WE’VE HAD TO DO TOO OFTEN THIS PAST YEAR.
WHILE YOU MAY NOT BE CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO THESE MOMENTS, IT’S COMMUNITY THAT AMPLIFIES
OUR JOY, AND IT’S COMMUNITY THAT SUPPORTS US IN OUR GRIEF.
IT IS WITHIN THESE MOMENTS WE CAN SEE THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR IN CREATING COMMUNITY.
BUT IF ALL GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN, IN A FEW SHORT MOMENTS, WE’LL GET OUR DIPLOMAS.
SO THEN WHAT? WHAT COMMUNITY DO WE BELONG TO NOW?
I THINK THIS QUESTION IS FAMILIAR TO MOST GRADUATES AND MOST ANYONE IN A
TIME OF TRANSITION. I MYSELF AM A BIT TERRIFIED AT THE IDEA OF
HAVING TO START ALL OVER AGAIN. NEW CITY, NEW JOB, NO FRIENDS.
O‑WEEK WITH NONE OF THE FREE SWAG. WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO POINT TO IS THE
WAY IN WHICH COMMUNITY ALWAYS REMAINS TO BE DEFINED.
THE PROCESS OF CREATING IT IS THE WORK OF DEFINING IT, AND WE’VE HAD FOUR YEARS OF
NOT JUST THEORY, BUT OF ACTUALLY PRACTICING WHAT COMMUNITY MEANS.
SO, IN A SENSE, LEAVING THIS SCHOOL, WE AREN’T REALLY STARTING FROM NOTHING.
WE GET TO LEAVE HERE AND CONTINUE REDEFINING AND EXPANDING OUR COMMUNITY, SO THAT IT CAN
BE SO INCLUSIVE AS TO HAVE ROOM FOR STRANGE ALLEY CATS.
And part of this work of community is fighting for community if that attracts those in charge
and even better the New York Times. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
We all get to and have to do this work. YOU PROBABLY CAME TO COLLEGE HOPING TO FIND
A COMMUNITY. MAYBE AT THIS POINT, YOU’VE HAD SOME PRACTICE
BUILDING ONE. SO, CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF 2016!Whoo!
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] WE’VE FINALLY MADE IT!
AND THAT’S REALLY SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE, NO SMALL FEAT.
It was not easy. HERE WE ARE, DONE, MOSTLY.
BEFORE WE GO OUR SEPARATE WAYS AND BECAUSE WE CLEARLY HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH HOMEWORK ALREADY,
I WANTED TO LEAVE US ALL WITH ONE LAST ASSIGNMENT, THE QUINTESSENTIAL SOSC ESSAY PROMPT: DEFINE
COMMUNITY. Thank you.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>At this time in the favoring congregation
an assembled, we will begin awarding diplomas by the collegiate divisions. The deans will
present candidates whose major field of study fall in their areas. We will grant the LLewellyn
John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell awards in undergraduate teaching. The Quantrell Award
is believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching and is among the
most treasured by our faculty, for selection is based on letters of nomination from students.
At this time I should also like to call your attention to the award of honors listed in
the convocation program. The presentation of Kwan Quantrell awards
will be in the following orders, the biological sciences collegiate division, the humanities
collegiate division tnew collegiate division, the physical sciences collegiate division
tsocial sciences collegiate division, and, finally, students in any division selected
for their high academic achievement to serve as student marshals.
>>Jerome Klafta, Department of Critical care will present the first LLewellyn John and
Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. This will be followed
by the presentation of graduates to the President and dean by the master of the biological sciences
collegiate division.>>>Daniel Scott McGehee is a neurophysiologists
the with research interests in the by logic mechanisms underlying addiction to nicotine
and other substances of abuse. While he teaches graduate and medical students, in the college
he is Director of Fundamentals of physiology, a popular, yet demanding, course required
of all first‑year biology students. This course integrates concepts from cell biology
and genetics and explores ways in which multi‑cellular organisms overcome fundamental physical challenges.
As a member of the Steering Committee of the biological sciences collegiate division, he
has significant input into undergraduate curricular design and evolution. Representative teaching
comments from undergraduate students include: “One of the best professors I’ve had for any
biology class. Very approachable and told interesting stories that tied into the material
being learned.” Mr. President, I have the honor to present
Daniel Scott McGehee for the Quantrell Award for excellence in education.
[Applause.]>>PRES. ZIMMER: Scholar of neurophysiology
and accomplished teacher, Daniel Scott McGee engages his students in learning the physiological
principles of multicellular organisms, Daniel Scott McGehee on behalf of the University
of Chicago, I bestow upon you the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
>>>Mr. president and Dean Boyer, as master 6 biological collegiate division, I have the
honor to present for their diploma these students who have completed programs in the biological
sciences. (reading names). [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
(bugles).>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: Gabriel Richardson
Lear, professor of philosophy, the college of social thought and the college, the chair
of philosophy, will present the next Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
This will be followed by
the presentation of graduates to the President and dean by the master of the humanities collegiate
division.>>GABRIEL RICHARDSON LEAR: Malt e willer
uses the precise tools of semantics to study the dynamic ways that language creates meaning.
In a range of courses, he introduces students to the exciting debates in the philosophy
of language of the past 100 years and gives them the logical skills and confidence to
take their own critical stance on the issues. Students praise him for his ability to transform
dry and difficult material into the basis of engaging class discussion. Over and again
they express their grateful surprise at discovering how interesting questions and logic in the
philosophy of language can be. The following comment is typical, “malte is a truly excellent
teacher. There are few like him. He obviously puts a lot of work into his teaching and cares
deeply about his students learning. He is also hilarious. I imagine that any class he
teaches would be fantastic.” Clear, demanding and full of good humor, he
embodies the university’s commitment to undergraduate education. Mr. President, I have the honor
to present malte willer for the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate education.
[Applause.]>>PRES. ZIMMER: Philosopher of language and
formal semantics, malte willer opens students to the complex ways language conveys meaning
and truth and helps them to experience precise reasoning as a source of joy and illumination.
On behalf of the University of Chicago, I now confer upon malte willer the Llewellyn
John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
>>>Mr. President, Dean Boyer, as mamas ter of the humanities ‑‑ master of the humanities
collegiate division, I have the honor to present these students who have completed programs
in the humanities. (reading names).
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] (horns).
>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: The Director of Undergraduate studies in religious studies on behalf of
the new collegiate division will now present graduates to the President and dean.
>>>Mr. President and Dean Boyer, on behalf of the master of the new collegiate division,
I have the honor to present for their diploma these students who have completed the programs
in the new collegiate division. (reading names).
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] (horns).
>>Dean Fefferman, Department of Mathematics and the college, will now present the next
LLewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
This will be followed by the presentation of graduates by the dean of the masters of
the collegiate studies division.>>DEAN FEFFERMAN: Sarah N. Ziesler is a scholar
and teacher of mathematics whose instruction has delighted and inspired students in all
of her classes. She transmits her deep understanding and love of the subject she teaches with so
much success that it is not uncommon for her students to feel that her class is the best
they have taken at the university. For example, one student wrote, “Sarah is the best teacher
I have ever had and it is because of her that I am pursuing further studies in math. She
has shown her students kindness and encouragement and support that just leaves me speechless.”
Another wrote, ” I can’t put into words how much Dr. Ziesler has influenced my college
career. She has honestly changed my life. ”
Mr. President, I have the honor to present Sarah Ziesler for the Llewellyn John and Harriet
Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate education.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>PRES. ZIMMER: A scholar and a teacher,
Sarah N. Ziesler’s remarkable devotion to her students and outstanding classroom performance
transform her students’ understanding and appreciation of mathematics. Sarah N. Ziesler,
on behalf of the University of Chicago, I now confer upon you the Llewellyn John and
Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Congratulations.
[Applause.]>>Mr. President and Dean Boyer, as masters
of the division, it is my honor to present these students who have completed programs
in the physical sciences. (reading names).
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [Music.]
>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: Stephan Burnham, Department of Economics and the college will present
the next LLewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate
teaching.>>>Derek Allen Neal is an economist who specializes
in human capital, education policy, wage equality, the economics of crime and the labor economics.
He teaches undergraduate sources ‑‑ analysis as well as elective courses. Dedicated adviser
of undergraduate physics, mentor to younger recertain etch muchers, he transfers to economics
and finding solutions to pressing social problems in ways that encourage students to pursue
further study. When asked how has this course contributed
to your education, one of his students replied, “Neal is very up‑to‑date on education
research, often at the cutting edge of it itself. The class really benefits from it.”
Another student said “I can hold an intelligent conversation about the incentives behind public
education globally. I also have a better understanding of how to evaluate empirical strategies in
economics.” These responses reflect his commitment to
teaching students to balance rigorous theoretical foundations with extensive empirical testing.
Mr. President, I have the honor to present Derek Allen Neal for the Llewellyn John and
Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate education.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>PRES. ZIMMER: Labor economist Derek Allen
Neal transmits to his students the importance of carefully constructed social policies rooted
in theory and validated empirically to produce a more just society. Derek Allen Neal, on
behalf of the University of Chicago, I now confer upon you the Llewellyn John and Harriet
Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Congratulations.
[Applause.]>>Kenneth Pomeranz, university professor,
department of history, department of the east English languages and the college will now
present the last Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for excellence
in undergraduate teaching. This will be followed by the presentation of graduates to the President
and dean by the master of the social sciences collegiate division.
>>>Kenneth Pomeranz: Emily Osborn is our campus’s only full‑time historian of Africa,
a continent with 54 countries and over a billion people. This is a role that makes impossible
demands, yet Emily somehow meets them all. Her students appreciate her grasp of an extraordinary
range of material, and her infectious enthusiasm of her subject. But just as much, if not more,
they value how well she gets to know her students, even in large classes, and her ability to
make classes exciting as well as thought provoking. Her students note that her remarkable skills
as a lecturer are only the beginning. What is even more impressive is how she makes them
feel comfortable, exploring topics about which many of them knew very little before her class.
Creating a heady atmosphere of curiosity, confidence and eagerness and a strongly felt
sense of learning as a vitally important, shared enterprise. Mr. President, I have the
honor to present Emily Lynn Osborn for the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell
Award for excellence in undergraduate education. [Applause.]
>>PRES. ZIMMER: Scholar of African history, societies and cultures, Emily Lynn Osborn
exemplifies a fierce dedication to learning, and helps her students live the idea that
the steep learning curve which unfamiliar subjects offer is not an occasion for fear
but an opportunity for exciting growth. Emily Lynn Osborn, on behalf of the University of
Chicago, I now confer upon you the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award
for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Congratulations.
[Applause.]>>>James T. sparrow: Mr. President and Dean
Boyer, as master of the social sciences collegiate division, I have the honor to present for
their diploma these students who have completed programs in the social sciences.
(reading names). (reading names).
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [Music.]
>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: Mr. President and Dean Boyer, I now present for their diplomas additional
students who have completed programs in the college.
(reading names). Mr. President and Dean Boyer, as marshal of
the university, I have the honor of presenting for their diplomas the student marshals in
2015. Appointed by the President for their excellent record in academic studies and their
contributions to the university and its community, they have served exceedingly well as student
marshals. (reading names).
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [Music.]
>>Today we gladly sing.>>>Today the we gladly sing of her whose
daughters and whose sons have loyal voices proudly raise to bless her in her benisons.
Above all mothers fairest she, most wise of all that wisest true. All true of all the
true say we. Is our alma mater. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
>>DEAN BOYER: THREE YEARS AND NINE MONTHS AGO I HAD THE PLEASURE TO ADDRESS YOU IN ROCKEFELLER
CHAPEL ON OPENING DAY. IT IS THUS A SPECIAL PRIVILEGE, NOW, TO ADDRESS YOU AT THE CLOSE
OF YOUR STUDENTSHIP AT THE UNIVERSITY. FROM ACROSS AMERICA AND THE WORLD YOU CAME
HERE, TO CHICAGO, TO BECOME CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT UNIVERSITY. YOU REMAINED LOYAL AND ENGAGED
CITIZENS OF YOUR HOMETOWNS AND YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS, BUT IN COMING HERE YOU BECAME CITIZENS OF
A NEW COMMUNITY, A UNIVERSITY THAT HAS ALWAYS HAD A NOBLE AND UNIVERSAL MISSION IN AMERICAN
HIGHER EDUCATION. IN GRADUATING TODAY YOU HAVE JOINED, FOR THE
REST OF YOUR LIVES, A COMMUNITY THAT MANY CONSIDER THE IDEAL UNIVERSITY, A PLACE OF
INTEGRITY AND AUTHORITY AND EFFICACIOUS INTELLECTUAL POWER USED TO ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF
THE CREATIVE WILL. DOWN THROUGH THE DECADES OF OUR HISTORY COMES A CASCADE OF RESPECT
FOR THE EDUCATIONAL WORK OF YOUR UNIVERSITY, FOR THE GOOD THAT IT HAS DONE, FOR THE CREATIVITY
THAT IT HAS NURTURED, FOR THE SELF‑CONFIDENCE AND TALENT THAT IT HAS SPONSORED IN ITS STUDENTS,
AND FOR THE STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE THAT IT HAS DEMANDED OF ALL OF US. THE GRANDEUR OF
OUR COMMUNITY, THAT WHICH SHINES FORTH TO EACH PERSON WHO VISITS US EVEN FOR A SHORT
TIME, THAT WHICH GRACES EACH OF US WHO HAVE THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF JOINING THIS COMMUNITY
AS PERMANENT MEMBERS, IS THAT IT IS A COURAGEOUS AND FEARLESS PLACE, A PLACE OF STRONG LIBERTY
AND VIBRANT CONVICTIONS, AND OUT OF ALL THOSE CONVICTIONS, OUT OF ALL THE GENERATIONS OF
FREE AND OPEN DEBATE THAT THEY HAVE SPONSORED AND PROTECTED, HAS ARISEN AN INSTITUTION TRULY
WORTHY OF THE MEANING AND THE PROMISE OF THE HIGHER LEARNING. VERY
FEW INSTITUTIONS IN OUR SOCIETY HAVE HAD SUCH POWER TO ENRICH AND TRANSFORM HUMAN LIFE.
YOU CAME TO CHICAGO WITH IMMENSE HOPES AND ARDENT ZEAL, AND YOU HAVE WORKED ASSIDUOUSLY
TO BE WORTHY OF THIS GREAT UNIVERSITY AND THE SPECIAL HONOR THAT ATTACHES TO ANYONE
WHO PASSES THROUGH IT. WE CANNOT KNOW THE PARTICULARS OF WHAT LIES AHEAD IN EACH OF
YOUR LIVES. BUT WE DO KNOW THAT YOU ARE STRONG AND PERCEPTIVE, THAT YOU HAVE THE ENERGY AND
GRACE TO BEGIN TO MASTER THE WORLD, AND THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED AND FLOURISH AND MAKE SIGNIFICANT
CONTRIBUTIONS TO ALL OF. You your communities, to everywhere you go.
IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE YOU AS OUR STUDENTS; IT IS AN EVEN GREATER HONOR TO HAVE YOU AS
OUR ALUMNI. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL HELP US TO MAKE THE
COLLEGE AN EVEN MORE VIBRANT PLACE FOR THE
STUDENTS WHO COME AFTER YOU, AND I ALSO HOPE THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER THE
Extraordinary impact that it and all your friends have made on each of our lives. Let
me end the ceremony by wishing that you all encounter great and good fortune in the fascinating
journeys ahead and I wish God’s speed to all of you. Thank you very much.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] [Music.]
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>VICTORIA E. PRINCE: I thank you for attending
today’s ceremony. And on behalf of the university extend best wishes to all graduates and their family and friends.
I also welcome you to continue today’s celebration by joining
your respective class under the tents
in the Harper, classics and social science
quadrangles for a reception. Please remain in place until
the platform party and graduates have withdrawn.
This now concludes the college diploma ceremony of the 527th convocation of the University of Chicago.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]