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Congratulations Class of 2023! Here's Wisdom From 5 Architects of Change Before Embarking on This Next Chapter

Congratulations Class of 2023! Here's Wisdom From 5 Architects of Change Before Embarking on This Next Chapter

By The Sunday Paper Team
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Tim Shriver

University of Utah 2023 keynote speaker, Tim Shriver, encouraged graduates as they prepare to enter a world grappling with division. He said, “I am here to ask you, to beg you as you go forward, don’t listen to the voices that are telling you to blame and shame and treat others with contempt. Tune them out. Shut them down. You can do it. It’s a very simple action. Everybody has the power to create a new incentive that doesn’t reward hatred and contempt, but instead rewards dignity. Shriver continued, “I know sometimes it seems scary to take a chance on high ideals and deep experience, but all the noise and all the hostility around us can’t hide the simple truth—within each of us, there is that fragile spark of love. There is a hunger and a search for what is beautiful.” - University of Utah

Gayle King

Despite skipping her own graduation ceremony in 1976, King returned to her alma mater, the University of Maryland, to deliver the 2023 Commencement address to an audience of thousands at SECU Stadium. King encouraged the graduates to persevere through the challenges ahead. She said, “The only thing to do is take one step forward—that’s it. Then you might have to rest. Sometimes you might even have to take one step back or turn to your people. When you’re ready, you’ll take another step, and another. Those steps will bring you just a little bit farther and a little bit higher.” - University of Maryland

Arthur C. Brooks

Serving as the keynote speaker at The Catholic University of America’s 2023 Commencement ceremony, bestselling author, social scientist, and "happiness expert," Arthur C. Brooks suspected many of the newest alumni were feeling some anxiety about what was on the horizon. Citing the work of philosophers and saints, Brooks said the answer to all their questions started at their origins. “We’re beings made in God’s image to love others,” Brooks said. “That’s your vocation. Just love.” - Catholic University

Karine Jean-Pierre

At Rice University’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony, Karine Jean-Pierre—the first Black woman, the first immigrant woman, and the first openly gay woman to hold the post of White House press secretary—spoke of hope. “Hope is one of the most powerful tools we have,” she said. “Hope is more than an emotion, more than a feeling, and certainly more than a vibe—I know you guys like to use that word,” she joked to her largely Gen Z audience. “Hope is a discipline and a practice. For me, hope is a verb. Hope is action. Because when we hope for a better world, we create a better world.” - Rice University

Maria Shriver

When first asked to deliver the University of Michigan’s 2022 Spring Commencement address, Maria declined. She was afraid to walk into Michigan Stadium, embarrass her sons and have nothing memorable or valuable to say to the graduates. After some thought, though, she accepted the offer. “I’m a big believer in facing your fears head on,” Maria told graduates, seated in tight rows before her on the Big House field. “Not pushing through your fear, not pushing through that which scares you, will leave you feeling like you’re not brave. It will leave you with an unrealized, unfulfilled version of yourself. And believe me, graduates, that is something to fear.” - University of Michigan

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