BY ANUSHKA CHAKRABARTI
Alexandra Minna Stern, dean of humanities at the UCLA College, served as the commencement speaker for the 2023 humanities commencement ceremony.
Stern said she was honored to be the speaker for the ceremony. She added that she hoped her speech would uplift students and families and thank them for all their hard work.
“This has been quite a tumultuous time, especially since these graduates were by the pandemic, and their educational experience was disrupted,” Stern said. “I believe this generation has acquired an important skills for their future: How does one live with uncertainty? How does one recalibrate all the time? How can we stay strong and safe, stay focused?”
Another important aspect of being a humanities graduate, Stern mentioned, is the ability to communicate well.
“To convey complex ideas and accessible terms is a critical skill. During the pandemic we were isolated from one another, and it it became more important than ever to understand the human experience,” she said. “The core activities of humanities – reading literature, studying history, culture, and language, provided avenues to feel connected to one another, and to not lose touch with the joys and the pain of the human experience.”
Finally, she wanted to highlight the role that both biological and chosen families played in helping the graduates reach this end goal.
“It takes a village—everyone should be proud of the graduates and the graduates should be proud of the communities that supported them. It’s a day of triumphs,” she said. “Along the way, though, everyone had frustrations and probably some failures, where something didn’t go as planned. In the end, we can learn as much from, and maybe sometimes even more, from those experiences.”