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Upcoming Commencement Dates

  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Maura Farley, Valedictorian

Maura FarleyJune 9, 2013

Good morning, President Folt, members of the board of trustees, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I am truly honored to address the diverse group of individuals assembled here today. I remain deeply impressed by my fellow classmates, who have certainly made their mark on the Dartmouth community and will no doubt continue to do so outside of Hanover. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to meet and work with these individuals for the past four years.

As I sat down to write this speech and attempted to impart original impressions to the very distinguished audience before me today, I began to recognize my own limitations and real lack of life experience as a mere 22 year-old who has, in fact, spent much of the past four years in Sanborn Library. And so I decided to pass on a humble yet valuable piece of advice that I received from an individual far wiser than myself during freshman year. I was making a purchase at Collis, when, Steve Edes, its manager, asked how I liked the cafe. "It's great. Not only is the food delicious, but the people who work here are always so pleasant," I said, echoing a sentiment shared by many of my friends. Steve smiled and replied, "Well, we try to hold ourselves to the highest possible standard here."

These unassuming words have stayed with me, because they encapsulate an important principle that informs the Dartmouth community in so many ways. To pursue excellence when it is not required, indeed, to strive to do one's best for the sheer sake of doing one's best, struck me as a most laudable goal. It is one that we have certainly seen realized at Dartmouth by so many of the individuals in attendance today. Here I must single out our wonderful professors for holding themselves to the highest possible standard at every juncture. I know that I speak for many of my peers when I express my tremendous gratitude to our outstanding faculty members. Their reputation for unwavering commitment to their students, both in and out of the classroom, is truly well deserved. These individuals have not only been instrumental to our success at Dartmouth, but have set an enduring example of excellence for us all. Of course, the professors are joined in this respect by many other Dartmouth community members, among them coaches, administrators, staff members, and, not least, the students themselves, who have certainly held themselves to high standards during their Dartmouth careers. Indeed, they have excelled athletically, produced unbelievable artwork, tackled papers on complex topics ranging from biomedical imaging to eugenics, organized wonderfully over-the-top, unforgettable orientation trips for incoming freshmen, and fundraised thousands of dollars for different worthy causes.

I think that Steve's words are certainly worth remembering as we step outside of Dartmouth and rise to meet the new challenges that we will soon encounter. To hold oneself to the highest standards in many facets of life, to give one's best effort and commitment to each and every new enterprise is certainly not easy. Anyone who has walked through the 1902 Room during finals and sensed that electric, anxious pulse of dozens of students pushing themselves to achieve excellence recognizes that. But looking out at the extraordinary people assembled before me, who have demonstrated time and time again their resolve to "hold ourselves to the highest possible standard," to strive for excellence and to give our best or give nothing, I am quite confident in our ability to continue to do so outside of this fabulous College on the Hill.

Congratulations and thank you once again to the Class of 2013.

Last Updated: 6/12/13