President Oliver, Charge to the Class of 2018

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Pitzer College’s 54th Annual Commencement took place on May 12, 2018 at the Stephen L. Glass Commencement Plaza

Video Transcript

Pitzer tradition says that it is now time for me to give you your charge. As Pitzer College students who possess immense confidence, unabashed individuality, strong ideas on practically every social issue and boundless enthusiasm, providing a charge to you is probably pointless. But tradition cannot be overlooked. Let me give it a try!

I experienced this past year a major medical challenge. It prompted me to reevaluate what for me was truly important. I came to a simple conclusion that focused my energy and resolve; what was most important to me was my love for family, friends and all those important in my life. As the novelist and essayist James Baldwin wrote:

“I use the word “Love”…not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

I want to challenge you to not forget that “love” is life’s most important gift that we can give and receive. We can only be the best we can be in our journey, in our quest, with the energy and warmth we receive from the love of others. We can only give our best to others when we love them unconditionally but not uncritically, when we support them so that they can pursue their dreams and grow.

As Pitzer graduates, I charge you to go out and make the world a better place. But do it with love, the love that brings light to darkness, the love that buries hate, the love that transforms enemies into friends. And today and into the future we will need love more than ever.

We will need love more than ever, my friends. I present to you the class of 2018!

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit