Swarthmore College Commencement 2002
President Bloom Urges Graduates to Dedicate Lives to "Broader Impact"

Swarthmore College Graduates 336 at 130th Commencement

June 2, 2002

Swarthmore President Alfred H. Bloom called on the College's graduating seniors today to apply their newly completed education not just to personal advancement, but to "the broader impact for which you are also so very well prepared."

In light of unmet and pressing global needs ranging from peace and security to equitable distribution of resources, Bloom urged the graduates to make good use of their Swarthmore education. "Your senior year began with September 11th, a stark reminder of how few individuals it takes to have a devastating impact on the world," Bloom said. "Let June 2nd be a powerful reminder of the magnitude of the positive impact that 336 extraordinary individuals can have. Do not sell yourself, or the world, short."

The college awarded degrees to 336 undergraduates and gave honorary degrees to former U.N. humanitarian coordinator Denis Halliday and journalist and international relations scholar Josef Joffe. The latter is a 1965 Swarthmore graduate.

The ceremony - the College's 130th commencement - was held this morning at the Scott Outdoor Auditorium on the Swarthmore campus.

Invoking Swarthmore's Quaker roots and longtime commitment to social responsibility, Bloom urged the seniors to strive to achieve more than personal and financial success. Their degrees and skills, he noted, "will enable you to thrive in whatever career or careers you choose and will all but assure a future of economic security and societal respect.

"However, in light of how much there is to do, to secure our nation and ensure a peaceful world; in light of how much there is to do, to create the productivity, and the patterns of distribution, required to provide adequate nutrition, health care, education to our own and to the world's population ... in light of how very much there is to do, I ask you to set your ambitions beyond personal and professional success to have the broader impact for which you are also so very well prepared.

" ... If you devote yourself to research, be the one who refines or redefines the current paradigm in ways you believe will guide the discipline onto a more productive or significant path. If you devote yourself to education, be the model teacher, principal, and educational leader who offers a vision of finer education and who leads the system, or the nation, to deliver on that vision.

"If you choose medicine, law, or business, be the one who introduces treatments, professional directions, or strategies more responsive to the needs of the broader society and world. If you choose the non-profit or public sector, be the individual who imagines directions your institution or society might take towards your vision of the good and who, by articulate, persuasive and public example, galvanizes broader commitment and action to that end."

Of the 336 graduates, 323 collected the bachelor of arts degree and 22 the bachelor of science in engineering. Nine had double degrees. Highest honors were awarded to nine, with 68 collecting high honors, and 43 receiving honors. The senior class speaker as voted by his classmates was David Kamin, an economics major and political science minor from Phoenix, Ariz.


Prepared Remarks

Alfred H. Bloom, President

Denis Halliday, Honorary Degree Recipient

Josef Joffe '65, Honorary Degree Recipient

David Kamin '02,
Senior Speaker

Samantha Power, Baccalaureate Speaker

Timothy Burke,
Last Collection Speaker

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