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Guiding Lights

At Swarthmore’s 145th Commencement on May 21, President Valerie Smith awarded honorary degrees to documentarian David Gelber ’63, philanthropist John Goldman ’71, and actor-playwright Anna Deavere Smith.

“I assume most of you aspire to a purpose-driven life,” Gelber told graduates. “One of those can be to help save the planet by finding real-world solutions to our dependence on fossil fuels. Tough assignment. I wish you luck, wisdom, and the strength to keep at it.”

“Life is uncomfortable, and life is rife with change,” Goldman said. “I ask you to be brave. I ask you to be bold. I ask you to believe in yourself. And I ask you to relish every step along the path before you.”

“Looking at the mission statement of Swarthmore, I think you are, in fact, aware of your connectedness, and of your responsibilities as a citizen,” concluded honoree Smith. “There are no walls between you and the rest of the world, unless you make those walls. You are free to carry love yourself. I hope you will. Godspeed. Agape. Be strong. Be new. Be you. Change stuff."

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