Congratulations, Class of 2015!

May 18, 2015

What a Commencement weekend it has been—with the main event still to come! Yale enjoyed a special privilege yesterday with a visit by Vice President Biden, and I hope those of you who were not among the packed crowd at Class Day have had a chance to watch his inspiring speech online. His message—to value personal connections more highly than superficial “networking,” and to aspire to success, but never by sacrificing beliefs—resonated deeply.

Today, I join the deans from across our campus—together with the wider community—in saluting the 3,566 members of the Class of 2015 as we confer their degrees. From American studies to applied physics, from anthropology to art, and in areas too infinite to list here (I have barely scratched the surface of the letter A!), your scholarly pursuits during your years here have enriched the life of the university and prepared you to make your mark on the world.

And I hope you will view that preparation, and the degrees you are receiving today, both as a right and (to borrow from the language I will use later today in conferring them) as a responsibility. In my baccalaureate address this weekend, I urged Yale College graduates to “Repair the World!”—a message I share with all of you. View your achievements here not as the goal, but as steps along the way toward the ultimate goal: for all of us to leave the world better and stronger than we found it. You have done exactly that here at Yale, and I know that you will continue to do so in the years to come.