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Commencement Archive

2012 Student Address: Caitlyn Kirby

Caitlyn Kirby, president of the Class of 2012, delivered the student speech at Smith College’s 134th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 20.

Good morning ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between. I’d like to begin by welcoming

Most importantly, I’d like to welcome (and thank!) our families.

Thank you all for helping us get here.

The Class of 2012 is a special class — change is something that we know so well. During our time at Smith, we found our voices and learned how to use them to initiate change.

And I hope that we carry these new-found voices out into the world, creating change in all corners of the globe.

As Smith alums we will be called upon to help create change in the larger world. It is easy to be scared of change, and worry about what might befall us, but Teddy Roosevelt said it best when he said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” We must remember that there is pride in the attempt — even if we fail in the end.

To aid other students in attempting to achieve their goals, the Senior Class is donating $2,012 to the Organizations and Developing Leaders Fund, with the stipulation that it be provided to students wishing to embark on an educational pursuit abroad. We hope to encourage global engagement, especially as Smith College continues its international mission.

Poet and author Diane Ackerman said, “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

So many Smithies in our graduating class have lived the width of their time at Smith:

And so many others are continuing to live the width of their lives after Smith:

For those of us waiting for plans to take shape, you can always consider some of the possibilities on the Senior Class bucket list such as

Wherever your path takes you, go out, change the world, and let’s remember to live the entire width of our lives. Thank you.