Alli’s Harvard graduation

A couple of weeks ago, Alli graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School.  I went to the commencement ceremony, of course, and stayed for the whole event.  I like academic ceremonies.  There’s always enough interesting details to keep things moving, for the curious anyways.

The day started very early.  We wanted to get seats in the Harvard Yard to watch the student processing and ceremony.  We got there pretty early, but not early enough to get seats.  So we walked around a bunch and finally grabbed a couple of decent spots to watch the event.

The processing took a really long time.  Much longer than I expected.  There were so many graduates!  But after a while, they were all seated, and it was time for the various speeches.

The Latin address, given by an undergraduate, was strange.  She was really loud and virtually yelling at people, in Latin.  I also didn’t think the message or story were good.  But the Latin fluency and hearing the language spoken was cool.

The English undergraduate address, given by a poetry student, was decent.  She tried to be inspirational, and mostly it was good, although a little generic.

The graduate student address, given by comedian and Alli’s classmate Jimmy Tingle, was awesome.  He talked about growing up as a poor kid in Cambridge, stealing bicycles from the very same Harvard Yard he was in now.  He talked about his classmates and students, with plenty of funny stories and anecdotes.  It was one of the best graduation speeches I ever heard, by anyone.

After that, Harvard President Faust actually officially confirmed the graduation of various students, one school at a time.  I really liked her short (1-2 sentences each) congratulations to each degree and school.  They were witty and complimentary.

The whole thing took a very long time.  I was probably around Harvard Yard from approximately 7am to 12pm.  Then I walked over to JFK Park by the Kennedy School for the HKS school-specific ceremony.

The Kennedy school ceremony was nice. It was more intimate, just the HKS students, and actual individual student names were read out.  We cheered loudly for Alli, of course, and we also cheered for a variety of other friends and students.  The instructions not to cheer were blatantly ignored by everyone, as you would expect 😉

Alli got her diploma, and then the Kennedy school had a nice outdoor BBQ/picnic for everyone, with food and drinks and tents.  We took a lot of pictures, hung out with classmates, and generally had a relaxing afternoon before heading out to a celebratory dinner.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed Harvard commencement.  It’s a long but fun day full of interesting ceremonies and related trivia tidbits.  Congratulations, koukla 😉