The much-traveled path through Harvard College is a four-year cycle that ends in a breathtaking Commencement ceremony on Harvard Yard each spring.But every Harvard student has a unique story, and sometimes their individual choices take students on journeys toward graduation off the traditional cycle.Family, friends, classmates, professors, and school officials gathered last Friday to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s class of more than 100 seniors at the Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony in the Radcliffe Institute’s Knafel Center.“Some of these unplanned detours can lead to some of the most magical and exhilarating experiences of our lives, despite the momentary shock and reconsideration that it can cause,” Rakesh Khurana, the Danoff Dean of Harvard College, told attendees gathered at the ceremony. “Life intervenes, and we have to grapple with uncertainty, and it is in those moments of uncertainty that we encounter serendipity.”Educational detours can be both planned and unplanned. Some students accelerate their studies and graduate early. Others take time off from school for internships or for personal projects, travel, or family emergencies. Gabriel Bayard ’15 worked on a campaign for a labor movement in Boston and took a break from his Harvard studies.“I figured it would be really helpful to me to take a breath away from Harvard, but still be in Boston and be around friends,” he said. “It was a great decision.”Julia F.P. Ostmann ’15-16, chosen by the 2016 Senior Class Committee to reflect on her experience at the College, reminded the audience of the struggles of poet T.S. Eliot, who was once placed on academic probation by the College. She said that Eliot took a nontraditional path to eventual success, eventually graduating early from Harvard and in 1948 winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.“What I believe is that in taking time off or in choosing to graduate early — in committing to field research in India or freelance writing or White House internships or taking the time and space to heal — or in my case 113 episodes of ‘Parks and Recreation’ — our attention shifts,” said Ostmann. “We stand outside of Harvard, and we see it differently. Maybe just slightly, maybe just enough to gain a newfound appreciation … or maybe you finally feel you get it.”,In her faculty address, Maria Tatar, the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and of Folklore and Mythology, told students there is great value in the struggles and challenges of life. She reminded seniors to continue creating even in the face of rejection and to always be present in life.“You are facing chaos, chance, serendipity, and life suddenly resembles a pinball game,” she said. “Failures, the moments of gloom and exhaustion in your life, are exactly what will set you right.”Philip Lovejoy, executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association, reminded students that their connection to Harvard does not end with graduation and encouraged them to tap into the vast network of alumni around the world.“You can continue to be the change here, working to make Harvard a better version of itself,” he said. “Alumni lead Harvard. Alumni champion and protect the University.”The ceremony marked a journey of accomplishment for Virginia Marcus ’15, who took more than a year off to explore the entertainment industry where she hopes to find a career.“All my friends have graduated, but this is wonderful and I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m moving to [Los Angeles] in January, and I’m terrified, but I’m so inspired.”It was also a proud day for Bayard’s parents, Mireya Herrera and Jean Pierre Bayard, who traveled from California to attend the ceremony.“It’s emotional, and we hope that he finds his way,” said Bayard. “It’s a great education and he is well set for the future.”Khurana told the students that he sees much promise in their futures and in their ability to make a contribution to the world.“I hope [Harvard] has given you an independent mind, a spirit that dares to explore, a commitment to inclusivity, and a heart that reaches out to others and sees others with gentler eyes,” he said. “I hope it has transformed you and that it will help you develop the will to tackle the real problems that confront our world, and move our society in the direction we need to go to, and thrive.”The ceremony is not intended to serve as a replacement for Commencement. Graduates and families wishing to learn more about receiving diplomas and walking in May are invited to contact the FAS Registrar’s Office and the Harvard Alumni Association.
Published on October 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ When it comes to individual games, rarely is there one ‘must’ for victory for Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. It’s more about tempo. More about mindset. Most weeks, Marrone points to an array of aspects for Syracuse to defeat its opponent. Leading up to SU’s 13-9 win over South Florida, Marrone did, however, harp on one aspect of SU’s game: turnovers. Marrone said if the Orange won the turnover battle against the Bulls, SU would come away with the win. One SU turnover to two USF turnovers later, Marrone left Tampa, Fla., with the four-point victory, just as he said. Marrone said Monday there isn’t one singular, tangible ‘must’ for the Orange (4-1, 1-0 Big East) to defeat Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-0) Saturday (noon, ESPN). For Marrone, Monday was a step back from the recognition of one hard truth and a rekindling of more ambiguous and overarching goals. SU vs. Pitt will be about physicality. It won’t come down to one number. Rather, the tempo of the football. ‘The most physical team is going to win this game,’ Marrone said. ‘With the style of Pittsburgh, they are a physical team.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The challenge for Marrone and SU against Pittsburgh will perhaps come with winning those small battles in the trenches and in one-on-one matchups. And whenever the Orange can take advantage when given the chance to be physical, it will need to. That is because the one portion of the game without inherent contact — Pittsburgh punter Dan Hutchins 15-yards back from the physicality at the line on punts — will put the Orange in an unfavorable situation every offensive drive. The Panthers are first in the nation in net punting, with a 45.3 average. Marrone may need that physicality even more on defense, knowing his offense will have to sacrifice almost half a field every time Pittsburgh punts. The Orange needs to want it more, again, just like USF defensive end Craig Marshall admitted Saturday. ‘It seems like (Syracuse) wanted it more,’ Marshall said after the Bulls’ loss. ‘They did what they had to do to come away with the victory. That’s all we can say about it. … They just executed better than we did.’ The Orange will need to win the field-position battle versus the Panthers, unlike Saturday’s game against the Bulls, when USF consistently started drives inside SU territory. When the nation’s leading all-purpose runner in Ray Graham (207 yards per game) touches the football, the physical presence exuded against USF’s Mo Plancher last week will need to be there. When Jabaal Sheard — Pitt’s defensive end who is in the top 20 in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss — attempts to rush off the edge like USF defensive ends in Marshall and David Bedford, the Orange will need to halt Sheard just like it tried (but failed to) with the pair from USF. Marshall had three sacks, and the pair combined for 12 tackles. Where Pitt differs from USF is with its punting game. Even with a poor nonphysical offensive drive, the Panthers can pin their opponents. Something extra is needed. Even if the Orange had its best few minutes of football marching 98 yards to defeat USF. It worked, but it won’t be optimal versus Pittsburgh. ‘I thrive, and I’m OK with being backed up,’ Marrone said. ‘It’s a mindset. … I like the challenge.’ But the similarities between the Panthers and Bulls, and the Orange’s subsequent preparation, are more prevalent than the differences. With the Big East schedule pitting the Orange against South Florida and Pittsburgh to begin the conference slate, Marrone wants the Orange to depart the first two weeks of conference play with a proven physical demeanor and mindset all over the field. In its first four weeks of the season prior to the bye week, the Orange did not have that mindset. Matchups against 0-6 Akron and Football Championship Subdivision teams Colgate and Maine perhaps didn’t allow for it. And a poor showing at Washington in which the Orange was plastered for 41 points simply didn’t showcase the optimal Marrone physicality. ‘I talk to the team about this,’ Marrone said. ‘It is just the beginning of the Big East conference play. We went down there and worked hard and know that all the hard work and everything put into getting to that point is just beginning.’ And against USF, the Orange harnessed that mindset to get to that point. The tempo was exuded. And the overall tempo and flow is good for the Orange. No injuries to fret about. No losses that have to linger for four to five days. Just a 4-1 record and a group that proved it can be the most physical, right when it needed to. Now it’s just about repetition. About the classic Marrone mindset, which may now start to become the norm: Prepare. Win. Repeat. ‘There isn’t a magic formula because if there is, we will be looking for it every week,’ Marrone said. ‘It’s just a matter in this game; if you aren’t ready to play every Saturday, you are going to get beat.’ [email protected]