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  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
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Marina Romani, Valedictorian

Marina RomaniJune 9, 2013

Good morning President Folt, members of the board of trustees, honored guests, faculty, family, and friends. Welcome to all, and most importantly, to the Class of 2013. Congratulations.

I would also like to give a special welcome to the Class of 1963. On June 16, 1963, Dartmouth valedictorian Alan K. Palmer '63 stood at this same podium to address the College. He began by quoting words of wisdom imparted to the Class of 1963 during his own Orientation Week four years earlier.

As we sit here today, row by row on our beloved Dartmouth Green, I am myself reminded of the last time the Class of 2013 convened at this very spot, four years ago. On that day, at the Convocation of Dartmouth's 240th year, former President Jim Kim delivered his first inaugural address. He urged us to, in our four years at Dartmouth, remember the "Four P's": passion, persistence, pursuit of knowledge, and the planet. At the time, as we sweltered in the sun, scanning the crowd for our new Orientation Week friends and worrying about the imminent first day of classes, President Kim's words passed far over our heads. Yet as senior year draws to a close, I have found myself revisiting this thought. Although President Kim is not here to see us graduate, each of our experiences has in unique ways been marked by these "Four P's."

The first P is to "find your passion," and I firmly believe that there is no better place than Dartmouth to do so. From the moment we stepped onto campus and were overwhelmed by a barrage of activities, organizations, and classes, Dartmouth has allowed us the freedom of exploration and self-discovery. In many ways, Dartmouth has defied our expectations—I certainly did not expect to discover my passion for bioethics through a class that I chose to fulfill that tricky TAS distributive requirement. We graduate today with exposure to literature, art, science, and most importantly, with passion, passion that lies at the very core of Dartmouth's liberal arts curriculum.

The second P is to "be persistent in achieving mastery." From spending long nights in the library to committing hundreds of hours to campus organizations, you have all amazed me with your drive and determination. It has not been easy, but together, we have helped one another, pushed each other to strive for excellence, and fostered a community of intellectuals.

Third is to "pursue knowledge in the way that works best for you." Dartmouth has provided us with many opportunities to learn in different ways—foreign study programs, independent research, guest speakers. Yet the pursuit of knowledge is certainly not limited to an academic one, and I feel incredibly lucky to have spent the past four years surrounded by a group of classmates with such diverse and amazing accomplishments. You have organized conferences, scaled mountains, started businesses, and so much more. Dartmouth has taught us to learn, a skill that we will carry with us long after we leave Hanover.

The fourth and final P, drawing on the words of former President John Sloan Dickey, is to "embrace the planet's problems because no one will be as prepared to fix them as you." Whether we are headed to graduate school or the workforce, to the public or private sector, we all have the opportunity to make Dartmouth a better place.

In 1963, the valedictory speech began with the words "The Dartmouth experience is a special one." These words from 50 years ago, like those delivered to us four years ago, remain true.

Thank you, and congratulations to the best class ever.

Last Updated: 6/12/13