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Commencement Day 2009


Photograph by Stu Rosner

The morning Commencement exercises featured three traditional student addresses: the Latin Salutatory, Aetates Hominis Harvardiani ["The Ages of Man at Harvard University"], delivered by Paul Thomas Mumma '09; the Senior English Address, This Shaking Keeps Us Steady, delivered by Lois Elizabeth Beckett '09; and the Graduate English Address, The Harvard Elm Crisis, delivered by Joseph Smith Claghorn, M.L.A. '09. (Read background on the student speakers in this University Gazette article.)

At the afternoon's annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, President Drew Faust spoke about three "essential characteristics of universities" and the risks to both universities and the nation if these engines of social mobility, scientific creativity, and national conscience falter in the current economic downturn.

Principal Commencement speaker Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, blending the arts and the sciences, offered a light summary of the expected graduation speech talking points and a blunt assessment of the urgent challenges posed by climate change.