Commencement 2007

Full texts and audiovisual recordings of major speeches, the Phi Beta Kappa poet and orator, and the lead student orators

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, spoke at the afternoon exercises of Harvard's

Below, you will find full texts and audiovisual recordings of major speeches, the Phi Beta Kappa poet and Orator, and the lead student orators. Complete coverage appears in the July-August issue of Harvard Magazine, here.

Tuesday, June 5. Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises

  • C.D. Wright, Phi Beta Kappa poet. "Like Something Christenberry Pictured". The Guggenheim Fellow, MacArthur Fellow, and professor of English at Brown University, reads one of her works. audio
  • Jeremy Waldron, Phi Beta Kappa Orator. "The Rule of Law and Foreign Law in Our Supreme Court". The University Professor at the New York University School of Law explores the Bill of Rights in the context of the international movement to secure universal human rights through the actions of individual countries, and suggests that doing so helps Americans see themselves as others see them. audio

Tuesday, June 5. Baccalaureate Service

  • Derek Bok, Harvard University President Emeritus Kennedy School. Harvard president Derek Bok salutes the graduating seniors and reminds them that pursuing material values will not bring happiness; one needs ethical content in one's work. audio

Wednesday, June 6. Class Day

  • Student Speakers: Harvard Oration & Ivy Oration. video
  • William Jefferson Clinton, forty-second president of the United States. Senior Class Day Address. The former president urges his audience to tackle global problems with new tools in new ways, but above all else to "spend as much of your time and your heart and your spirit as you possibly can thinking about the 99.9 percent" of common humanity that people around the world share. text and video
  • Nicholas Kristof '82, New York Times columnist. Kennedy School of Government Commencement Address.Pulitzer Prize-winner Nicholas Kristof discusses the critical need to tether idealism to pragmatism and empiricism when trying to help others, and reveals his "door-knob" test - a way to determine how much someone really knows about another society. text and audio
  • Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals judge and former dean of Yale Law School. Law School Class Exercises Address. Judge Calabresi recounts two stories from his distinguished career that illustrate the importance of maintaining faith in humanity, and faith in the law. "If you have those," he tells the graduating class, "you will be not only great lawyers, but great human beings...." text and audio
Thursday, June 7 / Commencement Exercises
  • Charles Joseph McNamara, 2007 graduate. Latin Oration (with translation). "John Harvard, Jedi Knight". text
  • Daniel Joseph Wilner, 2007 graduate.
    Undergraduate English Oration. "Daring to Choose". The 356th Commencement Exercises. text
  • Richard Lawrence Robert Crowder, 2007 graduate. Graduate English Oration. The 356th Commencement Exercises. text
  • Derek Bok, Harvard University President Emeritus Kennedy School. Graduate English Oration. The Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. The departing president shares "some parting reflections on the challenges for this University and others like it," in an era in which "the public is growing restive." text and audio
  • William H. Gates III '77, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation. Commencement Address. The Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. The co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation proposes a creative capitalism employing new tools that can cut through complexity and produce a "sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world. Thirty years hence," he told the new graduates, "I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well... you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity. text and audio
  • Dr. Julio Frenk, former Minister of Health of Mexico and visiting professor. Harvard School of Public Health Commencement Address. Healthcare is a social right, Dr. Frenk asserts. All human lives have the same value, and healthcare systems must provide similar treatment for similar needs, he said. "Since the great majority of health deficits are involuntary, it follows that no type of discrimination in access to health services can be morally valid." text

Additional Coverage

Commencement & Reunion Guide 2007

  • Schedule of Events Includes addresses by President Derek Bok and Microsoft cofounder.
  • Seniors of Note Rising alumni talk about their lives at Harvard and beyond
  • Celebratory Cuisine Harvard faculty and staff members recommend their favorite restaurants for Commencement celebrants.
  • Red Books, Raw Gems Harvard's class reports have been continuously published for at least 150 years.
  • The Changing Campus A look at five substantial construction projects well underway or nearly ripe.


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