Dartmouth's 2010 Convocation Exercises


Uploaded by Dartmouth on 21.09.2010

Transcript:
[ Music ]
[ Silence ]
>> Mr. President, honored guests,
and members of the Dartmouth community.
This convocation marks the beginning
of Dartmouth's 241st year.
I am Sylvia Spears, acting Dean of the college,
and I am especially pleased to welcome all
of our students both undergraduate
and those pursuing advanced degrees
from our graduate programs and professional schools.
We also extend a special welcome to all of you
who are attending your first convocation at Dartmouth.
Convocation today will open with a prayer offered
by Richard Crocker, the Virginia Rice Kelsey '61 Dean
of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation
and the college chaplain.
Please welcome, Reverend Richard Crocker.
[ Applause ]
>> Convocation means calling together,
so here we are called together again, faculty, students, staff,
alumni, friends, to affirm our great common calling.
We are assembled here only footsteps away
from the very spot where Eleazar Wheelock
and his 13 scholars began this college 240 years ago.
Their first act was to pray, something as natural
and important to them as breathing.
For some of us now, it is harder.
We are more aware of differences, more doubtful
about ultimate purposes, more wary of transcendent claims.
Yet in our hearts, with our lungs,
we all know our dependents on realities than ourselves.
Apart from air, apart from breath,
apart from spirit, we cannot live.
And so as we live and breathe, may that holy breath,
that holy spirit, remind us of our connection to all creation
and stir and sustain and unite us in love for it.
Amen.
[ Silence ]
>> Please rise and join the gospel choir in the singing
of America the Beautiful.
[ Silence ]
[ Music ]
[ Applause ]
>> This year's student body president, Eric Tanner,
a member of the class of 2011, came to Dartmouth
from the Hackley school in Tarrytown, New York.
Now a resident of New York City, Eric is a geography major
with a minor in art history.
In keeping with his interest, Eric spent the spring
of 2009 studying art history in Rome
and on the Dartmouth Foreign Study Program [inaudible].
He then participated
in the Dartmouth volunteer teaching program teaching 6th
grade English and Social Studies in the Marshall Islands.
Eric serves as social chair of Phi Gamma Epsilon,
a local fraternity, and is a member
of Palaeopitus Senior Society.
He is also a senior admissions tour guide.
This past summer, Eric ran operations at the Seeds
of Peace international camp in Otisfield, Maine,
a place where kids from almost a dozen nations
of conflict come together to live with one another,
engage in dialogue, and peacefully coexist.
Now as he enters his senior year, Eric looks forward
to working with the incoming class of 2014 as well
as with the rest of the community
to make Dartmouth a better place.
Please join me in welcoming Eric Tanner.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, Dean Spears, for that introduction.
President Kim, Provost Folt, faculty, staff, trustees,
distinguished guests, members
of G46 harder hiking, and fellow students.
Five years ago, Steve Jobs
of Apple gave a commencement address where he spoke
of quote connecting the dots in life.
Said Jobs, you can't connect the dots looking forward.
You can only connect them looking backward.
A few weeks ago as I drove up to campus, I found myself starting
to connect the dots of my three years so far
in this place, this college.
What were the reasons that I chose to come here?
How has my experience here differed
from my friends at other schools?
Why did dancing the salty dog rag
on my freshmen trip seem so normal?
And finally, what is it that brought each of you,
the beautiful class of 2014, here to the seats
that you occupy today?
After three years of being on campus, I have realized
that such a feeling of comfort here at Dartmouth does not come
from any statistic or any blurb in the [inaudible].
This comfort comes from the collective group
that you have heard about and now entered,
the Dartmouth community.
I got that feeling in my gut when I toured this campus
in 2006 that this was a community that I wanted
to be a part of for four years.
Everyone I met seemed to treat each other with such kindness
and respect, even if it was a lowly prospy like me.
As a hardened New Yorker, I wanted to even
for just four years be a part of a community like that.
So here I am, and now here you are as well.
So I'd like to take this opportunity
to welcome you to our community.
Let's just start with one special number, 1,362.
Besides your class year of 2014 and your own student ID number,
the number 1,362 may very well be the most important number
for you here at Dartmouth.
Why is that?
Well, I hope you realize
that you are Dartmouth Green for life.
Most of you will graduate on Sunday June 14th, 2014.
That date is only 1,362 days from today.
Yeah, that's messed up.
[ Laughter ]
Your actual time here on this campus in this community
as an undergraduate with these people is finite,
and the clock starts ticking right now.
So how will you spend those days?
My advice to each of you is to completely immerse yourself
into this dynamic community.
Experience the full spectrum of what it offers you.
Learn from your fellow students, from your professors,
and from your own experiences.
From the comradery of reading period holed up in Baker-Berry,
to the jubilation of a Dartmouth touchdown, to the calming joy
of hour long lunches in Homeplate talking
with the people you know will be your lifelong friends.
Look at the way you've interacted this past week during
your orientation.
You might have become best friends with someone simply
because you said how much you liked watching Jersey Shore
and they invited you to watch it with them.
Or maybe you saw someone
at every academic open house you attended and you finally decided
to strike up that conversation.
No matter how desperate or even forced it might feel,
those little connections might in the end be a basis for one
of the strongest friends you will ever have.
Never lose that drive to keep building relationships.
Never lose that drive to keep building friendships.
Never lose that drive to keep connecting the dots.
Friendships are the way that we can connect more dots
than we ever could on our own.
Friendships are the key to getting the most
out of our Dartmouth experience.
From the first moment you reached Robo for your DOC trip
until right now, you all have already gone
out of your comfort zones and spent time
with so many different people.
You have already started building foundations
for what might be unbreakable bonds.
The truth of the matter is that many
of those links will get even stronger.
However, some links might remain weak and fragile.
That does not mean however
that they should be ignored completely.
If you see someone this winter who you met during orientation
but you haven't spoken to since, say hi to them.
You know they recognize you, and you certainly recognize them.
So take the time to reach out and just say hey.
Make that effort to connect.
Make that extra effort to care.
Never, never, never lose that desperation to meet new people.
Always remember that Dartmouth is
such a tightly knit institution that any person
on any given day has the chance to become an integral
and vital part of your life, be it academic, social,
or maybe even romantic.
It is my hope that over the past week you have begun
to get that sense.
It is also my hope that you have done something
to make someone else feel deep down like they belong here too.
Being a senior now makes me appreciate this place even more
because I've started to realize that this all won't last.
I know that when I graduate and my blitz is deactivated
and my ID doesn't pay for my meals anymore, I will look back
and miss these days when I was constantly in the presence
of people who were looking out for me, who wanted to get
to know me, who wanted to make me feel included,
and I can only wish the same for you.
While you become engrossed in your academic, social,
and extracurricular life here, I hope you'll take the time
to appreciate what John Sloan Dickey wrote,
and President Kim frequently alludes to as the sweetness
of the Dartmouth community.
I hope that over the next four years, you as a class will work
to connect more dots around this campus
and make our community feel more united
and more welcoming than ever.
So, when you walk across the Green to graduate
in just 1,362 days, how will you, as an individual member
of your class, leave this community,
much like a DOC campsite, better than you found it?
For me, that question remains unanswered.
Maybe you all can help me figure it out.
But I do know this.
When I graduate out on the Green in June, I will not think
about the buildings, the food, or even the natural beauty
that surrounds this place.
I will think of the people that make Dartmouth.
Said Steve Jobs, you have to trust
that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny,
life, karma, whatever.
This approach has never let me down,
and it has made all the difference in my life.
Class of 2014, your future is now.
Trust our Dartmouth community and start connecting the dots.
One last thought that I would like leave you with,
this time from another giant of giants in the world
of business and industry.
Dunder Mifflin's Scranton regional manager Michael Scott.
Scott once said, what is the single most important thing
for a company?
Is it the building?
The stock?
The turnover?
No. It's the people.
Class of 2014, it's the same thing here.
Welcome to Dartmouth.
Take care of our College.
Take care of yourself.
But most importantly, please take care of each other.
Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, Eric.
I think you made your family proud.
Our next speaker is Reverend Leah Daughtry.
Reverend Daughtry is a nationally recognized teacher,
preacher, speaker, organizer, and leader,
and Democratic strategist.
Reverend Daughtry is pastor of the House of the Lord Church
in Washington, D.C. With her ordination in 2002,
she joined the fifth consecutive generation
of pastors in her family.
She is president and CEO of On These Things LLC,
which provides strategic planning, issues advocacy,
and organizational management and consulting services
to a broad array of businesses and organizations.
A sought after coalition builder and strategic thinker,
Reverend Daughtry served as Chief Executive Officer
of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee responsible
for all aspects of planning and execution
of the Democratic party's quadrennial presidential
nominating convention.
She simultaneously served as Chief of Staff
of the Democratic National Committee, the DNC,
the governing body of the National Democratic Party.
She is the creator of Faith in Action,
the Democratic Party's outreach to communities of faith,
and was named by Religion News Service as one
of the 12 most influential Democrats in the nation on faith
and values, politics, and issues.
A native of Brooklyn, New York,
Reverend Daughtry held various senior posts
at the United States Department of Labor,
the United States Congress, and the Democratic Party.
She remains connected to her community through her service
on numerous boards of directors and her involvement in a variety
of social, political, and public service initiatives.
In all of her endeavors, Ms. Daughtry seeks
to bring sound principled leadership, business,
and management practices to organizations that seek
to enhance and improve the lives of people with
and for whom they work.
Please join me in welcoming one of Dartmouth's own,
Reverend Leah D. Daughtry, class of '84.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you Dean Spears for that introduction,
and to President Kim, who I am honored to call my friend,
and who has been a wonderful president
for our beloved College, to the Dartmouth Gospel choir,
who I was privileged to serve as director for my four years here
at Dartmouth, and to all of you here on the dais and to all
of you in the family of Dartmouth,
I thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
I am humbled to be here to share with you today
on this auspicious occasion.
I was walking down Main Street yesterday,
and I saw all the '14 jerseys and sweatshirts,
and I felt impossibly old.
[ Laughter ]
I had flashbacks of my parents and me doing that same stroll
down Main Street to buy my own set of jerseys and sweatshirts
with a big 84 across the chest,
and that was exactly thirty years ago.
And thirty years ago, I was at my own convocation,
sitting with my new classmates,
and we were called 'shmen back then, short for freshmen.
And I was so excited about the journey I was starting,
and I was excited about my new friends, and I was excited
to finally be considered an adult.
And I was excited because my parents had finally,
finally gone home.
[ Laughter ]
And there are two things that I remember
about my own convocation.
One is President Kemeny addressing us for the first time
in that distinctive Hungarian accent.
Men and women of Dartmouth.
But secondly, and perhaps most importantly,
I remember the deep sense of community that I felt that day
as I locked arms with my new friends and sang the Alma Mater,
which then was called Men of Dartmouth.
I left convocation that day knowing without a shadow
of a doubt that Dartmouth belonged to me, and I belonged
to Dartmouth, and that this was my place.
And that sense of community and that sense of well-being
and belonging undergirded and informed the rest
of my Dartmouth career and indeed my professional career
as I have endeavored to take that sense of community
and recreate that sense of belonging
in every place that I go.
And that sense of camaraderie
and belonging was an essential part of my education,
because at its base it was the simple idea that we don't have
to all be alike or look alike or think alike in order for us
to learn together and grow together.
That we could come from different places
and have different perspectives and different ideas,
that we could even disagree and still remain a welcomed,
valuable contributing part of the same vibrant community.
And with all due respect to my many friends in the faculty,
it was perhaps the most, the best and most enduring lesson
that I learned at Dartmouth.
And so I am convinced, and I would encourage you to consider
that education, the process of learning, is multifaceted,
and done well, it acknowledges the totality of our being,
that we are mind, body, and spirit.
That is to say that the best learning happens when mind,
body, and spirit are engaged.
To do it right, we must bring our whole selves
to the learning process.
Consider for a moment Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees.
She writes, I think that I shall never see a poem
as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
against the earth's sweet flowing breast.
A tree that looks to God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins
in her hair upon whose bosom snow has lain,
who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.
Kilmer's language is timeless and beautiful, transporting us
with vivid imagery and encouraging us
to think more deeply about the wonder of trees.
In a classroom, you can discuss the deeper meaning of the poem
and you can dissect the stanzas and examine their rhythms
and meters, and that is great and that's important,
but I would say that that's not enough.
You need to stand next to a tree, to feel the rough bark
of the oak tree or the smooth trunk of the magnolia.
You need to marvel at the majesty of the redwood,
or be protected from the storm by the expansive limbs
of the sycamore, or hear the song
of the birds singing in the fir tree.
And then, then you can understand Kilmer's motivation.
Her own sense of the creative power of God, and her wonder
and awe at the beauty of nature and her own place in it.
So I would suggest that learning is equal parts intellectual
discipline and practical application.
The circle of learning is completed when the two meet,
when theory is put into practice.
There's a difference between studying government and politics
in the classroom and working on a campaign
or working in the government.
Trust me, this government major knows
that one is theory and one is practice.
Practice gives theory to life.
Without practice, theory is just words on a piece of paper ready
to be challenged, eager to be tested.
But on the other hand, practice without theory is experiment.
Constant supposition and questioning
without foundational basis or underlying fact.
So to be a true scholar, to be an avid learner, we must learn
to match our intellectual pursuits with hands
on practical activity.
As I often say to my congregation on Sundays,
sitting in a church all day won't make you a Christian any
more than sitting in a garage all day will make you a car.
[ Laughter ]
No one wants a heart surgeon who's never seen a heart.
You can't call yourself a musician
if you've never held an instrument or sung a melody.
Real athletes don't watch the game.
They play the game.
So as you begin your academic journey,
commit to jumping in with both feet.
Roll your sleeves up and get dirty.
Do everything you can to expand your horizons.
View every new experience as an opportunity to learn.
Give up the same-old, same-old, the usual,
and the what-we-always-do.
Eat lunch with new people.
Sit at a different table.
Walk on the other side of the street.
Take a different route to class.
Find a new place to study.
Stepping out of our routine, out of the comfort zone we build
for ourselves, helps us to challenge our assumptions,
expand our thinking, enlarge our possibilities,
and lift our vision of who we are and what we can be.
That is why it is so important to be open to new experiences.
Variety and diversity are important partners in learning,
and that includes diversity of thought, diversity of place,
diversity of experience, and diversity of friendships.
If all of your friends look like you and talk like you and are
from the same place as you, if you share all the same classes
and live in the same dorm, you need new friends.
There is something that is happening now in our country.
The anger and frustration that is felt by so many
in America is nearly palpable.
And in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems,
it seems that the voices of intolerance
and divisiveness are growing louder and stronger every day.
But to believe that our country's challenges are the
result of any one people or any one community
or any one issue is to default to the too easy,
too obvious answer and often demonstrates the limits
of one's own experience.
Most of us will never face the prospect of deportation,
will never understand a child's fear
that she will lose her father to an immigration sweep.
Most of us will never understand the humiliation of being pulled
over for driving while black.
And most of us cannot fathom what it is
like to run a gauntlet of protesters just
to attend worship services.
Most of us have never gone to war, or we've never escaped
from a war-torn country.
Because of our privilege, and we are privileged to be here,
we've not had to use the hospital emergency room
for health care.
We've never had to choose
between paying the mortgage or buying food.
But even though we may not have had these experiences,
it does not mean that we cannot think or act
with compassion toward those to whom these stories belong.
Our nation faces many challenges today, but they cannot
and they will not be solved by finger-pointing,
by accusations, or blame.
The spirit of our founding fathers and mothers,
the spirit of our ancestors, the spirit of our nation calls us
to shun the easy answer so deftly offered
by isolation and ignorance.
They cause us, call us to use our intellect,
burnished by experience and exposure, and polished
with hope and optimism.
They call us to match theory with practice,
to match our intellectual pursuits
with practical application.
They call us to use our education and our book learning
as a stepping stone toward greater,
more informed engagement in the world around us.
The spirit of our ancestors, the spirit of our nation,
the spirit of Dartmouth calls to you.
They call you to be more and to do more.
They call you to be better and to do better.
They call you to build on our successes
with successes of your own.
They call you to be the ones,
the ones who can lift all and diminish none.
The ones who can see beyond difference to the common good.
The ones who can bring about the beloved community.
The ones who can finally,
finally make Doctor King's dream a reality.
They call to you to be the ones.
Answer their call.
For you are the ones we have been waiting for.
Thank you and God bless you.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, Leah, for those profound words.
Since coming to Dartmouth just over one year ago,
Jim Yong Kim has earned distinction as a visionary
and innovator who has brought his experience
at tackling global health to bear on higher education.
His leadership has heralded a new age for Dartmouth
as the college moves into the 21st century
and approaches its 250th year.
While he started his college career with plans
to become a philosopher,
President Kim ultimately decided on medicine instead.
He went on to cofound the extraordinary non-profit
Partners in Health, and to direct the Department
of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization.
At Harvard, he became one of the world's foremost researchers
in global health and a leading voice in the fight
against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and HIV
in developing countries.
President Kim epitomizes the saying
of former Dartmouth president John Sloan Dickey
that you must stake on the world's troubles as your own.
He came to Dartmouth knowing that he could be more effective
by empowering each of you to take on the world's troubles.
Declaring at his inauguration,
this historical moment requires a generation
that unites the passion to transform the world
with the intellectual capacity
to tackle the most difficult scientific challenges,
to apply sophisticated management strategies
in new ways, to create art that resonates in a changing world,
and to lead teams of people toward common goals.
That is the generation that will deliver our long
cherished dreams.
That is your generation.
In the last year, President Kim stood at the helm
as Dartmouth weathered the global financial crisis
and launched a new field of study with the creation
of the Dartmouth Center
for Healthcare Delivery Science here at Dartmouth.
He has worked tirelessly to ensure Dartmouth stays true
to its unique mission of balancing exceptional teaching
with first rate research by supporting
and encouraging students, faculty, and staff alike.
In the coming years, I know he will help Dartmouth realize even
greater levels of accomplishment.
It is my pleasure to introduce you
to this Dartmouth's 17th President, Jim Yong Kim.
[ Applause ]
>> Greetings students, faculty, members of the Board
of Trustees, and staff.
Thank you so much, Reverend Daughtry, for joining us.
We gather every year on this occasion to reflect
on the legacy left almost two and a half centuries ago
by the founders Eleazar Wheelock and Samson Occom,
to seek knowledge, to educate the most promising students,
and to prepare them for a lifetime of learning
and responsible leadership.
It is my great pleasure
to welcome the class of 2014 to Dartmouth.
You come to Hanover from 48 states and 43 countries,
determined to learn, to be inspired,
and to change the world.
You are here because of what you have achieved and the promise
of what you will accomplish.
Dartmouth will provide you with the tools you need
to be transformative leaders in the global community.
Take advantage of all this College has to offer
and you will no doubt be prepared, in the words
of former Dartmouth president John Sloan Dickey,
to take on the world's troubles.
I also welcome the College's new graduate students in the arts
and sciences and those from Tuck, Thayer,
and Dartmouth Medical School.
In coming here you will soon learn how our strong community
spirit enlivens the academic life of this great institution,
promoting a remarkable level of collaboration and collegiality.
At Dartmouth, you will have unparalleled access to faculty
who are leaders in their respective fields.
This is the formula that has made us
so successful for so many years.
As our students enter their first year
at Dartmouth, I enter my second.
I am a sophomore, if you will, no longer new to this community,
but not quite an upperclassman.
I spent much of the past year doing what the members
of the Class of 2014 will start in less than 24 hours,
learning from Dartmouth's outstanding faculty.
I have been their student, as I will continue to be
over the course of my tenure here.
Dartmouth's faculty is comprised of teacher-scholars
who are committed to instilling in you a passion
for inquiry and analysis.
They teach with the implicit understanding
that you will join them in the discovery of new knowledge
and engage in the student-faculty partnership
that is central to our collective mission.
Among the many things I have learned
from the Dartmouth faculty,
one of the most significant lessons is that the ability
to write clearly, effectively,
and creatively may very well be the most important skill you
will be taught in your time here.
My expectation, as I have always said, is that each
of you must go out and change the world
after you have completed your time here.
After many years of working on social problems
like world poverty and lack of access to health care,
it has become clear to me that for you to succeed
in your world-changing mission you must leave Dartmouth
with the ability to think clearly, imaginatively,
and critically, and then render your thoughts
in the written word.
There are over 1,800 undergraduate
and graduate students entering the College this year.
Many of you are published authors,
even journalists and poets.
Let me be the first
to congratulate you for your successes.
But let me also tell you that none of you has
yet reached your potential in your ability to think critically
and write effectively.
I made the mistake of not being properly introduced
to the humanities and the lifelong task
of becoming a better writer until graduate school,
when I studied for my PhD in anthropology.
It is not an exaggeration to say that studying new languages,
philosophy, and literature
as a graduate student fundamentally altered the course
of my life.
While I had always been interested in politics,
the underlying assumption I brought into medical
and graduate school was that science
and technology were the keys
to tackling the most important human problems.
Now, don't get me wrong.
I am still a wildly enthusiastic believer in the power
of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
to help us solve problems.
But it was in graduate school
that I realized changing the world would require the ability,
as one of your professors put it to me just the other day,
to and I quote, see the world as it is,
imagine the world you want to create, and then render
that vision in a way that convinces others
that it is both attainable and desirable.
Right now, you don't know if it will be the study of literature,
languages, or history that will help you see the world as it is.
You don't know if it will be the arts, philosophy, or mathematics
that helps you imagine the world that you want to create.
It's through hard work in all of these fields that will allow you
to render your vision in a way that convinces others
that it is both attainable and desirable.
But let me warn you.
This process will interrupt your life like it did mine.
Don't make the same mistake I did of not engaging
in this challenge until after you graduate.
That's the slow path to changing the world.
Push yourself.
Embrace the lifelong task of becoming a better thinker.
Stoke your imagination,
and learn to write more effectively every day.
In the midst of writing my own dissertation in anthropology,
I had multiple episodes of writer's block.
So at that time, I began an exercise
that some have called morning pages.
I wrote three pages of handwritten text on anything
that was in my mind as soon as I woke up in the morning.
One of your professors gives this very assignment
to all his students, and if you take his class, he will tell you
that the text you create will be, and I quite,
the diary of the transformation of your inner lives.
To quote the journalist and author Brenda Ueland,
if you want to write well, quote,
know that it is good to work.
Work with love, and think of liking it when you do it.
It is easy and interesting.
It is a privilege.
There is nothing hard about it
but your anxious vanity and fear of failure.
Do not expect writing to be easy, but learn to love it.
Embrace the possibility of failure
as you expose yourself on the page.
As Ueland says, if you want to write well,
try to discover your true, honest, untheoretical self.
The second lesson I have learned is
that few traits are more important than persistence.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell tells stories
of great success and great failure,
concluding that in addition to lucky breaks and accidents
of history, what the most successful outliers have
in common is persistence and around 10,000 hours
to practice their craft.
As a child, I developed a deep appreciation for the importance
of persistence, as it is something
of a national obsession in Korea and among Korean Americans.
There was an article in the New York Times a few weeks ago
about a woman named Cha Sa-soon, who lives in Wanju,
which is in South Korea about 112 miles south
of Seoul, the nation's capital.
Educated through only the fourth grade,
Ms. Cha makes a living selling vegetables in the local market
but has become famous in recent months for her persistence.
Hoping to be able to drive her grandchildren to the zoo,
she took her driver's license test over 900 times
in the last five years.
Although she had to take three different buses
and pay $5 each time she took the test,
she finally received her license on the 960th attempt.
Now, if you find yourself in the city of Wanju for some reason,
you may be on a foreign study or language program, you might want
to stay off the road right around the time the zoos open.
But you get my point.
Persistence is one of the key habits of mind you will need
to be successful here and for the rest of your life.
And that's not to say that you should decide now
on one specific approach to your studies and stick
with it regardless of the results.
In 2002, psychologist Carol Dweck decided
to study students enrolled in the fall semester
of Columbia University's general chemistry course,
the equivalent of our Chem 5.
Professor Dweck found that the majority
of students could be placed into two categories,
those with a fixed mindset,
and those with what she called a growth mindset.
As she explained in a 2009 speech, and I quote,
fixed mindset students believe their intelligence is just a
fixed trait.
They worry about how clever they are.
They don't want to take on challenges and make mistakes.
The growth mindset students think, no, intelligence
or ability to do well is something that you can develop.
Professor Dweck found through her studies that students
who exhibited the growth mindset received higher final grades
than those in the fixed category.
While many of the growth mindset students received bad results
on one or two exams, the key difference between them
and the fixed mindset students is that they were able
to recover from a bad outcome.
I maintain that your final grade in Chem 5
or almost any other class at Dartmouth is not an indication
of your innate intelligence, but rather an indication
of the quality of the strategy you choose.
The lesson here is that you shouldn't be concerned
about how you stack up against your classmates in terms
of some notion of innate intelligence.
We chose you because we know that all of you are capable
of achieving great success here.
Starting now, what matters most is persistence
and a great strategy.
There are many resources on campus, students,
fellow classmates, to help you find the right strategy.
You should begin finding those right now.
In my freshman year as a student at Dartmouth, I have also come
to appreciate a third and final lesson.
Namely, the importance of community.
To the new students here today,
you will soon find yourself engaged in an atmosphere
of collegiality and cooperation unmatched by any campus I know,
an atmosphere you will likely not experience again
after you leave these hallowed halls.
Embrace it, and it will embrace you.
Know that the people who supported you
on your Dartmouth Outing Club trip and your first biology lab
or in the sculpture studio are the ones
who will be there supporting you in 2064 when the class
of 2014 returns for its 50th reunion.
Please learn from what I have learned.
Develop as imaginers, thinkers, and writers.
Be persistent.
Be strategic.
And fully embrace the entirety of the Dartmouth community.
Understand, as Malcolm Gladwell has written, and I quote,
it is not the brightest who succeed.
Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions
and efforts we make on our own behalf.
It is rather a gift.
Outliers are those who have been given opportunities
and who have had the strength and presence
of mind to seize them.
The lesson here is very simple.
But it is striking how often it is overlooked.
We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest
and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally
from the earth.
All of you here were offered admission to Dartmouth
because we feel that you are precisely the kinds
of future outliers that the world has been waiting for.
You're here at Dartmouth to learn, grow, and mature,
so that once you leave us, you will go out into the world,
make its troubles your own, and make those troubles melt away
with your brilliance, your resolve,
your compassion, and your tenacity.
We have been waiting all summer for you to arrive.
We are so happy to have you here.
And it is my great privilege to welcome each and every one
of you to the 241st year of Dartmouth College.
Thank you.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you, President Kim.
Please rise and join the Glee Club in singing the Alma Mater.
[ Silence ]
[ Music ]
[ Applause ]
>> Please be seated.
I would like to remind everyone
that immediately following this ceremony,
the community lunch gathering will take place on Tuck Drive.
I know how pleased President Kim would be if you are able
to join us on this occasion.
As we conclude convocation with the recessional,
we would be grateful if you would remain
in your seats while the faculty members exist.
Class of 2014, after the platform group has processed
down the center aisle, please follow the green key ushers
out of the building to the lawn in front of Dartmouth Hall
for your class picture.
That concludes convocation.
[ Music ]