2012 Commencement Celebration

Remarks as prepared for delivery


I am Cherry Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Graduates, families, and friends, thank you so much for coming to today’s commencement reception.

It is terrific to see so many faculty and staff here showing their support. If there’s one thing we understand at SEAS, it’s the value of teamwork in teaching and learning.

One of my priorities when I became dean three years ago was to build a greater a sense of pride and community at SEAS.

Looking out at all of you, I can see that we have more than succeeded. Indeed, you are all part of the SEAS family.

Just as importantly, some of you are also part of Harvard College. Others of you are part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Still others are affiliated with departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or Harvard Medical School.

While belonging to so many families can be complicated, I think this speaks to one of our strengths as a 21st-century engineering school.

We are grounded in the liberal arts and intimately connected to departments and schools across the campus.

For the past several years, you have been immersed in a dynamic learning environment that celebrates both the technical and the intellectual.

A place where you rub shoulders with historians, artists, biologists, sociologists, and even dancers.

That experience sets you apart.

It allows you see problems in a different way---applying, for example, the principles of musical composition to a project in linear algebra, as one of our undergraduates did this year.

It also teaches you to communicate and allows you work with people from all fields.

That makes you ideal ambassadors for SEAS, for Harvard, and for the field of engineering.

Engineering, after all, is an incredibly creative process that is both practical and visionary.

Engineering makes use of both science and art.

With such a background you can literally go anywhere and do anything.

You can plan the unplannable.

And you can take on the greatest challenges in academia, industry, and government.

I cannot wait to see what all of you will do next.

Thank you --- and congratulations!