Friday, June 06, 2008

snippets from Harvard Comencement speakers


About endowments:
Endowments carry forth the wishes and evaluations of the past. They probably ought to conflict with the political present

Endowments have created a system of higher education that is the envy of the world.

"custodians of civilization"

Families of students with incomes of less than $60000 will not be expected to pay any of the cost of tuition at Harvard. (partial payment for incomes somewhat higher)

JK Rowling

video here: rtsp://
(link from

nervous. Just pretend it's a great big Gryffindor reunion.
2 things: Benefits of failure and benefits of imagination

Parents wanted her to do something practical, but she escaped into classics.

There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you take the wheel you are taking your own responsibility.

Poverty is not an ennobling experience. It is ennobled only by fools.
Failure is a stripping away of the inessential .
Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt.
Life is difficult and complicated beyond anyone's power to control.

Worked at Amnesty International

The willfully unimaginative see more monsters and are more afraid than others.
Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

Last hope: friends
Seneca: As is a tale, so is life. It's not how long it is, but how good it is that matters.

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