On Saturday, May 14, the College celebrated the Class of 2022 at its 184th Commencement inside the Field House. A commencement is many things: a graduation, a culmination, a beginning, an end. At once, the 306 members of the class marked both the completion of their Haverford educations and the beginning of their next chapter as the newest alumni members of the College community.
This dichotomy was echoed in the speech of the selected student speaker, Che Young Annette Lee ’22, who took inspiration from the Korean word for both hello and goodbye. “The word anyeong encapsulates both a greeting and a farewell, both a beginning and an end,” she said in her remarks. “So, anyeong to all of our precious college moments. But anyeong to the new memories we’ll form, to the new people we’ll meet and cherish.”
Other speakers at the ceremony included President Wendy Raymond; Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy; and class-chosen speakers Charles Young, a 16-year Dining Center employee; and Lou Charkoudian, an associate professor of chemistry and an alumna from the Class of 2003.
Many of the morning’s speeches touched on the adversity the Class of 2022 faced during their time at the College. (President Raymond reminded everyone that they were the last class to have spent a full year at Haverford before a global pandemic changed everything.) In her remarks, Raymond told the class she was inspired by their superpower, which she called “Love with a capital L,” meaning the empathetic, intentional relationship-building they’ve shown through the last four years, which included a pandemic and a strike for racial justice.
In her speech, Charkoudian talked about how that adversity will service the Class of 2022 going forward. “We need a future generation of community members and innovators who are ready to adaptively respond to the unexpected and display resilience when faced with setbacks,” she said. “We need a workforce that works with their heart as much as their head. We need citizens of the world who believe in the power of relationships as a medium for transformation. We need exactly YOU.”
Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, received an honorary degree at the ceremony, recognizing her work as a civil rights advocate and educator. In her remarks, she remembered her father, the namesake of her Institute, who brought a historic Supreme Court case, challenging the World War II-era incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry. (Though he lost that case, his almost-40-year federal conviction was overturned in 1983.) She urged the class to follow his lead and make activism a part of their life beyond Haverford.
“Advocacy is not an experience you only have in college,” she told the Class of 2022. “This was the training ground and practice for your future. Continue to build effective allyship skills and solidarity that work toward creating more equitable and inclusive experiences. Today as you receive your well-earned degree, remember that knowledge is power. You have the power to make a difference.”