IU President Michael McRobbie welcomed the graduates and their guests as he announced the start of the graduation traditions.
Everyone stood for the national anthem, led by Gwyn Richards, dean of the Jacobs School of Music. The anthem was followed by an invocation and a moment of silence led by the Rev. Linda C. Johnson, Episcopal chaplain to IU. Everyone took their seats as McRobbie introduced the commencement speaker, Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom.
The students stood up in a wave as Ostrom took her post at the stand. She began her speech by congratulating the graduates for surviving their years at “good ol’ IU.”
Her speech focused on the environment, particularly natural resources and sustainability. She warned the listeners what a threat humans are to the detriment of sustainability, and she urged the students to change that trend, mentioning cloudy lakes, weather changes and global warming.
Although her speech was serious, Ostrom balanced the hard facts with humor, laughing several times during her speech.
Her advice for the graduates was to “be skeptical of any panacea” and to challenge it if they heard of one.
“Congratulations — go forth and think diversity,” Ostrom said to end her speech.
The graduates were then inducted into the IU Alumni Association, which contains 530,000 living IU graduates, IUAA Chairwoman Donna Berry Spears said.
“May each of you carry the best of what you know, the best of Indiana University, into the future,” McRobbie said at the end of his speech.
Each graduate from the different schools stood as his or her degree was called to be conferred.
The head of each school said, “Mr. President, these candidates, meeting all the requirements for the degrees indicated, are recommended by the faculty for the conferral of these degrees.”
The ceremony ended with the traditional singing of the IU Alma Mater, “Hail to Old IU.”
“It was very nice,” Ph.D. recipient Sangil Yoon said of Ostrom’s speech. “She appealed to all the students.”
Ph.D. recipient Kristal Curry found the speech helpful.
“It was very great,” she said. “(It’s) very helpful to think about these kind of things — it’s helpful for those of us going out into the world.”
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