Hundreds of family members and friends gathered on Merion Green on Saturday, May 12, to celebrate Bryn Mawr’s Class of 2012.
Mary Robinson, the first woman to serve as president of Ireland and former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, gave the Commencement address.
I want to not only congratulate you, but also challenge you,” Robinson told the graduates. “The world needs people like you. The challenges of the 21st century require innovative, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership. You who have been taught and mentored at Bryn Mawr are well equipped to provide that leadership.”
In addressing the class of 2012, Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe echoed some of Robinson’s sentiments but she also spoke of the bittersweet nature of day for her personally.
“Part of me feels like I should be sitting there with you,” McAuliffe told the class. “I arrived on this campus as its new president about six weeks before you did. I remember vividly the first time I met you as a class. You were sitting expectantly and a bit nervously with your parents in Thomas Great Hall.”
McAuliffe went on to reminisce about walking with the class on Lantern Night and joining them as they all made it through “Hell Week.”
After listing the many women leaders who have visited Bryn Mawr’s campus during the past four years, McAuliffe implored the Class of 2012 to take up the torch of those who came before them.
“Whether you have studied classical archaeology or computer science, whether your degree will be in social work or Spanish, as a graduate of Bryn Mawr, you are prepared to add your voice to those who support the global advancement of women you are prepared to be the leaders whose words will be heard, whose ideas will matter, and whose actions will create the change that our world so urgently needs,” said McAuliffe.