Critically acclaimed author Azar Nafisi was the featured speaker at Claremont McKenna’s 68th Annual Commencement Ceremony, held May 16 on Pritzlaff Field.
Nafisi, who also received an honorary degree from CMC, urged graduates to use their liberal arts education to disrupt or “disturb the peace” and avoid complacency. “This is the main function of knowledge,” she said. “It is here to … provoke you to not only question the world but in fact pose yourselves as a question mark, to shed your prejudices, your assumptions, your presumptions about the world.”
Class speaker Clancy Tripp ’15 told the assembled graduates: “We have changed what it means to be a CMCer. We have started the tough conversations about sexual assault and social policies. We have taken the athletic teams to new and unbelievable levels of success. We have started organizations and clubs and movements and businesses. We have tried to find meaning and comfort after the loss of one of our own. We have been each other’s families when we needed it the most and when it wasn’t easy. We have kept the parts of ourselves that drew us here but we have grown into adults and leaders.”
President Hiram Chodosh told graduates: “Small acts change the world. Small courageous acts that align principle, value, and purpose with the needs of others. That will help you lead a life of greater meaning and success in all you seek to achieve.” The ceremony included the singing of “Claremont McKenna,” led by Registrar Elizabeth Morgan, the traditional Latin salutation by Nicholas Weiss ’15 and Kayla Nonn ’15, the alumni greeting by CMCAA President John D. McDowell ’79 and closing remarks by Abigail Michaelsen ’15.