“He could have graduated early, but we told him to wait and enjoy his last semester and be with his friends,” Brenda Miller said of Evan. “We’re very proud of him.”
Although the class is leaving UVA, going away doesn’t mean leaving forever.
“We’ve made this place home for one another, and the amazing thing about building a home is that even though we will leave, we can always return,” said Fiona C. Moriarty, a trustee of the Class of 2023, in her welcoming comments. “This weekend, we will be facing forward, surrounded by family and friends, and we will venture into the world knowing that we will always be able to come home.”
“Our class has undeniably been through a lot, but my hope for you today is that the hurdles we have faced along the way will not only serve as lessons to be learned from, but also as proof of your strength,” said Lara Arif, class vice president. “What’s next is not another identical and linear path which we can all follow, but something uncertain, something unique, something human, and something beautiful.”
In her address, featured speaker and UVA alumna Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit impact investment firm Acumen, agreed.
“Trying to make a difference in the world isn’t easy,” she said. “Many people have that intention, yet they end up living provisionally. They tell themselves they’ll follow their real dream once they earn a certain level of income, or get married, or buy a house. And then, life happens. And 20 years later, too many wonder what could have been different had they dared a little earlier.”
Novogratz told the students that in order to make changes in the world, it is important to keep internal monsters locked up and unleash their better angels.