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Jacqueline Rossi: “Enter to Grow in Weirdness”

5.24.12

Jacqueline Rossi

Jacqueline Rossi

Photograph by Jim Harrison

As the theme of her Ivy Oration, one of two humorous student speeches given on Class Day, Jacqueline Rossi ’12 used a twist on the inscription from Harvard Yard's Dexter Gate: not "Enter to grow in wisdom," but "Enter to grow in weirdness."

Rossi questioned whether wisdom is all it's cracked up to be, using several famous names as examples: "Take Sir Isaac Newton—he was surprised when an apple fell on his head while sitting under an apple tree? ...And if Mark Zuckerberg didn't invent Facebook, he still wouldn't have any friends."

She encouraged a definition of wisdom that includes making mistakes: "They make your life the joke that everyone can laugh at, just like Buddha's belly or Steven Pinker's haircut." This way, "after enough mistakes and unrelenting laughter, you'll find yourself as an old, wise Harvard graduate who made the world a better place just by being yourself."

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