On the 132nd Graduation ceremony hosted final Sunday, Stanford’s 2023 graduates — gathered with members of the family and College school and directors at Stanford Stadium — expressed heartfelt, celebratory and reflective sentiments encapsulating the emotional and enjoyable environment of the ceremony and their broader Stanford careers.
On the occasion, Provost Persis Drell acknowledged graduates for having accomplished their diploma necessities, with Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne conferring their levels. Graduation could be adopted by graduates receiving their diplomas at their particular division or faculty ceremonies.
Graduates embodied a spirit of chaos and enjoyable through the annual custom of Wacky Stroll, which noticed college students adorned in broadly various costumes. Tennis legend and “By no means Have I Ever” narrator John McEnroe, who spent one yr at Stanford as a student-athlete, was chosen because the 2023 graduation speaker.
McEnroe, not missing in humorous tennis analogies all through his tackle, pressured the significance of humility, psychological well being and making daring strikes with immense potential for progress in life.
“Know that the actual victory in life is the lengthy sport — measure your success by how a lot you evolve, not essentially how a lot you win. Don’t be afraid to make errors. And for chrissakes, have the balls to say what you are feeling,” McEnroe stated.
Lily Liu ’21 M.S. ’23 famous that Sunday’s ceremony passed off on a scorching summer time day which, along with the reflective and enjoyable environment, performed into “what makes Stanford’s graduation very distinctive.”
“Not like another graduation that may be extra stately and formal, Stanford graduation is a chaos of enjoyable. Take into consideration going to a music competition and you will note folks dressed up in such silly costumes celebrating the tip of their time right here and all bathing within the California solar,” Liu stated.
Even taking Stanford graduation in isolation, it carries feelings year-to-year, which stood out to Liam Fay ’23, who knew what to anticipate after witnessing his brother graduate eventually yr’s ceremony.
Fay stated to The Every day that being within the graduation ceremony “was overwhelming however actually thrilling.” He additionally described it as rather less emotional than he anticipated it to be. “I believe I used to be very unconflicted [and] simply un-conflictingly joyful,” he stated.
Madhav Goenka M.S. ’23 stated that graduation was one thing for which he held excessive expectations.
“I’ve been watching the Stanford graduation speeches for a number of years on YouTube from far-off in India. I had actually excessive expectations and truly being there in particular person felt like a dream. I had by no means thought that I’d really expertise these movies myself,” Goenka stated.
Goenka, describing McEnroe as having “a really outspoken character” demonstrated over the course of an “genuine and relatable” speech, stated that what resonated with him was that “As his highly effective voice pierced by the vastness of the stadium, all of us had been there with him, generally accompanying our claps with laughter.”
Previous to graduation, Fay stated that he solely knew McEnroe by his father, who referred to him as “the tennis participant who will get mad.” By the tip of graduation, Fay discovered McEnroe to be a enjoyable addition to the ceremony. “[Y]ou come into [commencement] anticipating it to be very scripted and by the books and actually boring,” Fay stated, whereas McEnroe was “a little bit of a wild card.”
Liu expressed an identical sentiment, describing McEnroe’s speech as “very energetic, very sincere [and] all the way down to Earth.” She stated she was “actually grateful for the message … to grasp that failure in itself remains to be a priceless lesson, particularly on a really overachieving campus.”
As a former employee on the Bridge Peer Counseling Middle, Liu stated that McEnroe’s speech particularly resonated along with her, having heard quite a few nameless pupil calls echoing issues concerning the educational, social and emotional pressures of campus life.
“[W]e have a variety of expectations for ourselves and it’s vital to acknowledge the hurt of that and to sort of settle for failure [and] to be the second greatest,” Liu stated. “It’s vital to have fun you [and] to simply have enjoyable and never really feel like it’s important to maintain as much as unrealistic expectation[s].”
Fay, describing the Wacky Stroll costume that he and his pals had as “ghosts of Stanford previous,” consisting of “six issues that, for one purpose or one other, have totally gone away or develop into a shadow of their former selves on campus. These six issues had been: Stanford Missed Connections, Cardinal Nights, Maus, Full Moon on the Quad, French Home and the Open Door Coverage.”
For his ghost, Fay selected Stanford Missed Connections — an nameless Instagram web page beforehand described as an area for Stanford college students to specific their campus “missed connections” and even make clear points that the College and college students had been “hesitant to handle.”
“The concept was that we’re graduating seniors and we may be a number of the final folks to really have skilled this stuff,” Fay stated. “Loads of us miss the earlier than occasions.”
Graduates’ memory was mirrored, as Fay stated, when encountering many seniors reacting to his costume saying, “‘Oh I miss Missed Connections! The place is she? How is she doing?’”
Noting the predominantly undergraduate observance of Wacky Stroll, Goenka stated he and his pals “as graduate college students didn’t maintain again,” strolling into the stadium in Spider-Man-themed costumes amongst different fellow grad college students.
Liu, describing Wacky Stroll extra broadly as “a second of self-expression” for Stanford graduates, stated that she and her pals dressed up as geese meant to be “combating Duck Syndrome.” The College describes duck syndrome as “the concept college students are struggling to outlive the pressures of a aggressive atmosphere whereas presenting the picture of a relaxed pupil, like a peaceful duck gliding throughout a fountain.”
Having gone by graduation, Fay broadly mirrored on what he could be taking away from his Stanford profession and famous that he was happy with how he grew by interacting with others and himself.
“You get probably the most out of Stanford from the way you work together with folks. That’s what’s actually modified me probably the most is the way in which that I’ve interacted with folks and the way in which that I believe I’ve interacted with myself,” Fay stated. “I’m actually happy with myself standing right here having graduated. It took 5 years, however that’s okay. I’m happy with myself.”
Equally centering her progress over her Stanford profession, Liu stated that she feels that studying to prioritize her pleasure and well being was an enormous a part of her growth. “That isn’t one thing you’ll want to be earned after laborious work, however quite one thing to be prioritized … being related to your self is so vital,” Liu stated.
Talking about graduation and everything of his Stanford profession, Goenka stated that nothing lacked in “stunning reminiscences with pals who’ve now develop into household.”
“The graduation weekend was some of the memorable moments of my life and I’ll play it in my head for the remainder of my life. Coming from tough circumstances in India and having research at this nice college has jogged my memory that something is feasible,” Goenka added.