Around Town | June 18, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 18, 2021

Around Town

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE ... The notes of "Pomp and Circumstance" have never sounded as sweet as they did last weekend during Stanford University's commencement ceremonies, the first held in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the familiar caps, gowns and hoods filled Stanford Stadium, there were clear differences compared to prior ceremonies, such as social distancing and face coverings worn by guests. The two-day event started with the ceremony for masters and doctoral students on June 12. In his commencement address, public health expert, author and alumnus Atul Gawande shared advice from Dr. Bob Wachter, the Department of Medicine chair at the University of California, San Francisco: "Say yes to everything before you're 40, and say no to everything after you're 40." Gawande said this is what he has done in his own life. He pointed out that after age 40, people should know themselves well enough to identify what matters to them and to focus on that. The graduating underclassmen had their commencement exercise on June 13. It kicked off with the beloved Wacky Walk, a tradition where students often come dressed in costumes, and this year was no exception. Some students dressed as gnomes, sunflowers, bananas and Stanford ID cards (not to mention one oh-so-colorful Stanford Tree mascot). Actress, writer and producer Issa Rae, who hails from Stanford's Class of 2007, served as the commencement speaker. The creator of the Emmy award-winning HBO show "Insecure" attributed the community she built at Stanford to her success. and encouraged. the graduates to stay connected. "The brilliant minds in this room will have a hand in shaping the culture, making this world better, leaving long-lasting legacies behind and doing a bunch of other important s---," she said. This year, the university awarded 1,436 bachelor's degrees, 2,171 master's degrees and 1,103 doctoral degrees.

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