It had been a long, hard year, and the forecast called for thunderstorms. But on Friday, June 4, the skies cleared long enough for the 570 members of the class of 2021 to celebrate the College’s 143rd commencement. President Paula Johnson welcomed the seniors gathered on Severance Green and over 100 scholars from around the United States and from China, India, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Zimbabwe.
For the first time, an acknowledgment that Wellesley is built on the ancestral and unceded lands of Indigenous people was offered, partly in Wampanoag, by Kimimilasha “Kisha” James ’21, an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and Oglala Lakota.
Class speaker Lia James ’21 recalled the challenges and gifts of the last four years, offering a Haitian proverb, “Remember the rain that made your corn grow,” to evoke the transformation difficult times can bring. “I am still blown away by the radical acts of courage and advocacy I see spearheaded by members of our class,” she said, urging them to continue to “say what needs to be said. … Be an ally, be an advocate, be a co-conspirator for change.”