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It is important to pursue ideals that are not necessarily the most pragmatic, University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 said at the University’s 268th Commencement on Tuesday. “We hear a great deal these days about the need for what is practical, functional and utilitarian,” Eisgruber said, “but I hope you will also find the time to pursue ideals that are beautiful and profound.” He added that the United States has always been a country of diversity and of audacious dreamers, and that the graduates will need to dream audaciously in the world they will be marching into. “The beautiful and the profound are sometimes more powerful and beneficial than all the things that the conventional world praises in the name of pragmatic utility,” Eisgruber said. Eisgruber ended by encouraging the Class of 2015 to carry the spirit of the University into the world and by promising to welcome the graduates back with open arms when they return. Due to inclement weather, Eisgruber shortened his address to the last three paragraphs of his original statement. Valedictorian Misha Semenov ’15, a San Francisco native and architecture major, reflected on the importance of remembering childhood as one progresses through life. He explained that the University has taken care of the needs of the Class of 2015 for the past four years, allowing the graduates to dedicate their minds and hearts to pursuing and exploring the passions they developed as children. “Now we can use the entire real world as our textbook,” Semenov said. In describing the beauty of childhood, Semenov explained that childhood allows one the freedom to let loose emotions that people might otherwise suppress. He added that the graduates should try to remember some of that freedom while living their own lives in the future. “If we desire to give and get the most we desire out of every interaction, we need to be our full, open, vulnerable selves,” Semenov said. “We must express our idiosyncrasies and include a childlike love for ourselves, for our passions, for the unseen things.” He ended by reminding the graduates to never grow up and by telling them that they all were valedictorians of the world. Salutatorian Neil Hannan ’15 read an address in Latin, in keeping with tradition at the Commencement ceremony. Six recipients were also awarded honorary degrees by the University, which were presented by University Trustee Randall Kennedy ’77 and conferred by Eisgruber. Harry Belafonte received a Doctor of Law for his work as an actor, singer-songwriter, social activist and producer. According to his citation, he worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr., and helped start the “USA for Africa” project aimed toward combating hunger. David Billington ’50, emeritus professor of engineering at the University, was awarded a Doctor of Science for his work as a scholar and teacher, inspiring “students, colleagues, and designers to integrate the discipline of engineering with the play of art.” Ann Dunwoody, a retired U.S. Army general, was also given a Doctor of Law. She is the first female four-star general in U.S. history. Deborah Tobias Poritz was awarded a Doctor of Law for her work as the first female chief justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey from 1996-06. Poritz was also the first female attorney general of New Jersey. John Paul Stevens, a retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was also given a Doctor of Law. Stevens’ time on the Supreme Court was “distinguished by careful legal craftsmanship and steadfast adherence to constitutional ideals,” according to his citation.

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