As many of you know, J.K. Rowling is the author of the imaginative Harry Potter series. In 2008, Harvard University graduates were fortunate to have her as their commencement speaker. During this time of new beginnings for many young people, I thought this would be a great time to share an excerpt:
“But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.
If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
You can read the entirety of J.K. Rowling’s inspirational commencement speech, at the Harvard Magazine site.