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Grads: Solve poverty, global warming with science

Stanford confers 4,941 degrees in its 120th graduation ceremony

Mexico President Felipe Calderon Sunday urged Stanford University graduates to use "the best tools and most advanced knowledge" to fight poverty and climate change.

Speaking to 4,941 graduates and their families in the university's 120th commencement, Calderon told students to give meaning to their lives by embracing "with passion the things that you believe in."

A handful of demonstrators, as well as a banner trailing from a plane overhead, alluded to the 40,000 who have died in the Mexican government's battle with drug cartels since Calderon took office in 2006.

"Be sure of your principles and never, never give up on them," Calderon told the crowd assembled in Stanford Stadium.

In a traditional, university-wide ceremony that filled nearly half the 50,000-seat stadium, Stanford conferred 1,720 bachelor's degrees; 2,167 master's degrees and 1,054 doctoral degrees. Individual diplomas were awarded later Sunday in smaller, departmental ceremonies scattered around campus.

Thirty percent of the graduate degrees, and 6.5 percent of the undergraduate degrees, went to students from outside the United States, Stanford President John Hennessy said, representing 42 countries among undergraduates and 82 countries among graduate students.

Wearing assorted themed costumes and accompanied by the Stanford Band, undergraduates entered the stadium waving and dancing in their traditionally festive "Wacky Walk."

Get-ups ranged from In 'n Out staff costumes to three women as cardboard railroad cars with the lettering "I think I can."

Another group evoked the Dr. Seuss graduation classic, "Oh, the Places You'll Go."

Blown-up palm trees and plastic pools were a common theme.

Several came dressed as college food staples: Cup of Noodles, Starbucks coffee and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

One graduate held up a sign: "My name is David. Hire me. jobforgrad@gmail.com.

Many carried banners that simply read, "Thanks, Mom and Dad."

In the ceremonial presentation of candidates to Hennessy, Medical School Dean Philip A. Pizzo commemorated student Emma Banks, who entered medical school after a career in astrophysics but died of cancer in February.

"Her greatest hope was to receive this degree," Pizzo said.

Calderon told graduates it is a "false dilemma" to believe the world must choose between economic growth and preserving nature.

"I'm positive that both gaps (that between rich and poor, and that between man and nature) can and must be lowered at the same time.

"To achieve this, the world needs the best students, the best scientists, the best minds and souls."

He cited Stanford research that has found a way to use nanotechnology to purify water, as well as a Mexican government program that pays indigenous communities to replant forests that have been destroyed.

"We've proven it is possible to stop deforestation and, at the same time, alleviate poverty," he said.

"With all of your learning, I'm sure you can design solutions and public policies to prevent deforestation and degradation."

Hennessy presented the Walter J. Gores Faculty Achievement Awards to Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Robert Siegel; Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Pavle Levi; electrical engineering doctoral student Raj Bhatnagar and law student Daniel Tsubasa Blocksom.

Lloyd Dinkelspiel Awards for outstanding service to undergraduate education went to Haas Center for Public Service development officer Suzanne Abel; Black Community Center director and Associate Dean of Students Jan Barker-Alexander; senior Aysha Nicholson Bagchi and senior Charles Augustine Syms IV.

The Kenneth Cuthbertson Award for exceptional service to Stanford went to Biology Department Student Services Manager Valerie Kiszka.

Citing the "rights, responsibilities and privileges associated with a degree from Stanford," Hennessy closed by remembering Ruth Levinson Halperin of Atherton, who died in 2008.

Halperin, a political science graduate from the class of 1947, served on the Stanford Board of Trustees and led fundraising efforts to rebuild Stanford's art museum after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Halperin "had a habit of knitting during board meetings, providing a calming presence along with her many observations," Hennessy said.

"She had a powerful intellect, and the ability to cut to the heart of any matter."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by global warming
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Foreign leaders are not afraid to fight global warming. Why are Americans in such denial?


Like this comment
Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Yeah, Calderon has such credibility - he's the leader of a third-world country with enviable potential and natural resources - a country that people risk death to flee. Corrupt world leaders of course promote the myth of AGW, since they will be the beneficiaries of the global carbon tax that is the ONLY reason for the perpetuation of the AGW fantasy.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

Well, the president of Mexico can't even fight poverty and horrendous crime in his own country - and he tells Stanford grads what they must do? Ludicrous. What a poor choice for a grad speaker.They've had many who were sub par - but this had to be the worst.


Like this comment
Posted by Arch Conservative
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Like having Congressman Weiner give an address on morality and thefamily. Hypocrisy reigns supreme. But whoever remembers commencement addresses anyway? Although Steve Jobs was pretty good, but the best one was by Herbert Hoover, long,long ago- Not more than ten words.


Like this comment
Posted by arch liberal
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

"Like having Congressman Weiner give an address on morality and thefamily. Hypocrisy reigns supreme. But whoever remembers commencement addresses anyway? Although Steve Jobs was pretty good, but the best one was by Herbert Hoover, long,long ago- Not more than ten words."

Or like having Sarah Palin give an address on staying with something to the end. Would an address by John Ensign on morality and the family be okay?
So when did hoover give this address. Were you there?
These "arch" conservatives are so arch.


Like this comment
Posted by good grief
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Gotta agree..definitely a horrid choice for a commencement address to Stanford grads.

Good grief..no political propoganda in the choice of the person, let alone in the content of the speech, was there?

To ArchLiberal: I think your suit, Obama, takes the cake for not finishing what he started, given he spent less time at this Senator job before he quit to begin campaigning...

but hey, never let consistency of concepts concern you. Too confusing.


Like this comment
Posted by some guy
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Hopefully the president talked about the very serious problem of overpopulation, especially in poor countries, and how birth control should be encouraged to help alleviate the tremendous impact on the environment. Because if he didn't, he's just blowing smoke.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

@some guy,

He doesn't have to. He sends all his unwanted people here.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Mexico might be doing better if we weren't stealing all their best and most motivated people. Now if we can just encourage our own freeloaders to move to Canada. ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by No-Way-Jose
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:36 am


While Mexican President Felipe Calderon Sunday urged/lectured Stanford University graduates to use "the best tools and most advanced knowledge" to fight poverty and climate change--the following was going on in his country--

--
Narco gangster reveals the underworld

Web Link

Cartels have taken cruelty up a notch, says one drug trafficker: kidnapping bus passengers for gladiatorlike fights to the death
By DANE SCHILLER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
June 13, 2011, 12:26AM

The elderly are killed. Young women are raped. And able-bodied men are given hammers, machetes and sticks and forced to fight to the death.
In one of the most chilling revelations yet about the violence in Mexico, a drug cartel-connected trafficker claims fellow gangsters have kidnapped highway bus passengers and forced them into gladiatorlike fights to groom fresh assassins.
----


Like this comment
Posted by Good grief
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:46 am

Dear No Way: You are so correct. Having a representative "lecture" our students on "fighting poverty and global warming" from a country which

1)treats its illegal aliens in ways that are unheard of here( from shoot to kill at the border to confiscating everything they own and jailing them if caught here) while they berate us for simply wanting to send our illegals back home..

2) Has violence unequaled here in the USA while berating us for our guns

3) Has poverty unequal to anything north of Mexico while pushign us to "lower the rich-poor gap" ( I prefer to have a HUGE gap and fewer poor, thank you...envy be danged)

4) Spews more crap into waters and air in just Mexico City alone than our entire nation does while chastising us to do more about "global warming"..

Well...the hypocrisy is appalling and I am disgusted with Stanford for not having a better role model come speak. You KNOW the only reason Stanford asked this dude is because he sides with the leftists/Obama Admin against Arizona ( and all other States) which try to control their illegal immigration problems.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 7:56 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Hear, hear!!


Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

"Well...the hypocrisy is appalling and I am disgusted with Stanford for not having a better role model come speak. You KNOW the only reason Stanford asked this dude is because he sides with the leftists/Obama Admin against Arizona ( and all other States) which try to control their illegal immigration problems."

Why is it hypocrisy for the Stanford students to invite Mr. Calderon. If you claim that he sides with the leftists/Obama administration, then it is not hypocrisy for a liberal school to invite him.
BTW, most law enforcement agencies in Arizona are against the current Arizona law.

Anyone surprised that Walter is opposed to a non-caucasian speaking at Stanford?


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

svatoid, I consider Mexicans Caucasian.
But then I have never bought into the race game where you separate us into small, easily controlled or discounted groups.
Where were you when I was proposing renaming Sand Hill Road "Condoleezza Rice Boulevard"?


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm



Calderon should have focused upon ending the war on drugs--which has cost more lives than the US lost in Vietnam and Korea combined.

Instead he talks about the pseudo science of AGW

This week real scientists predict a mini ice age is immanent because of reduced sun spot and flare activity


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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