A century ago, the Wellesley College class of 1914 graduated a mere 13 weeks after the devastating early-morning fire that robbed the College of its central building, but not its spirit. That spirit was very much in evidence on May 30 as the graduating members of the class of 2014 joyously processed into a vast tent on Severance Green—in the lee of the hill from which College Hall once dominated the skyline. There were 573 degrees awarded. The intrepid women of the class of 1914, who rebounded and returned to their educational pursuits not long after the fire, probably would have recognized and applauded the sentiments expressed at the 136th Commencement. Trustee Sue Wagner ’82, cofounder and now member of the board of directors of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, extolled the confidence instilled by a liberal-arts education. She told the class, “Be open to the world, and be flexible in your goals. … Take risks that will force you to grow. Have confidence that you’ll figure it out.”
The full texts of all the commencement speeches are posted here.