Commencement 2002

Members of the Class of 2002 walked through the front door of Denison Library for the first time since Orientation, accepted a long-stemmed rose offered by staff members, and passed through the traditional Ivy Chain formed by Scripps juniors. They processed down the aisle of Elm Tree Lawn, with cameras clicking and friends and relatives offering scattered applause and congratulatory shouts. Some seniors wore colorful leis, some wore Kente stoles, all were in Scripps green. One
hundred eighty-nine strong, they soon became the 72nd class to graduate from Scripps and go out into the world. Below are
excerpts from the advice they received on Commencement Day.

Leslie Martes, Senior Speaker

At our 25th reunion I hope to hear that everyone is doing well and that they have fulfilled the dreams they both planned out and never expected…I want to see our class go out and change the mindset of others with all the things that we have
learned and talked about here. Among many things that we have learned, please cherish the happy moments, but never forget the other moments where you might have felt out of place, unhappy, or angry at a situation. As one of our good classmates told me, never listen to anyone who tells you to take on an attitude of complacency. Never settle for “this is just the way things
are.” Someday we will have the power to change things and make choices that will prevent others from feeling powerless and
unhappy with their situation. Each one of us will have a quiet moment, when no one is watching, where we have the opportunity
to make the right choice and help others. It is the moments when no one is watching that our decisions will really count…

Class of 2002, you make me proud, and you are going to make me very happy to see you in 2027. But, remember: you don’t
have to invent post-it notes to impress us. Just try to find something that makes you happy. Follow your yellow brick road,
break down those stupid barriers, and charge right through. See you in 2027.

Hannah-Beth Jackson ’71, Commencement Speaker

I am so inspired by a book from my childhood called The Little Engine That Could. I learned, and I share with you: If you think you can, you can, and you will! Class of 2002, you’ve learned, and you’ve been taught that you can. I guarantee you that in 25 years, probably less, you will be coming back to your children and reading to them The Little Engine That Could because that is life. You’ve learned the tools, and you will know what it is in your heart, and you will never look back. You are, indeed, the little engine that could. Congratulations, and Godspeed to all of you as you go out into this world with that engine in front of you.

The sun did just come out for you today—grab for it! Your reach may always exceed your grasp, but don’t hesitate to reach. Do it with passion, joy, sense of humor, and most important, do it with love. I guarantee you, with those combinations and what your Scripps College experience has been, you’ll never fail. God bless you all.

Nancy Y. Bekavac, President’s Charge to the Class of 2002

Behind me, and slightly to the south, is a beautiful path that connects the music and dance department with the W.M. Keck Science Center… It not only serves the function of transport, it does so with a beautiful slight curve to the walkway, and a rise… What makes it so distinctive is the set of quotations set in bronze letters into the pavement. Walking toward the science building are quotations from scientists; walking toward the music and dance department are quotations from artists,
writers, and musicians. All are women. Near the center is my favorite quotation— the shortest one. “The moment of change
is the only poem.”

The author is Adrienne Rich, one of America’s finest living poets. In the early 1980s, she was twice a distinguished visiting professor here at Scripps.

I know you aspire to great and good things: to achieve peace, and justice, and fairness, to find love and fulfillment. And may you do so—all of you. In that quest, as in all human quests, there will be failures, surprises—and triumphs. All will be marked by moments of change, felt, I hope at least some of the time, as poetry. You will leave us and go on changing, coming back, from time to time, to visit.

Whenever you return, I hope the quote will be there, silent and potent, worn and enduring, permanent and read anew by every class.

“The moment of change is the only poem.”