President Melvin L. Oliver’s Charge to the Class of 2019
Pitzer tradition says that it’s now time for me to give you your charge. As Pitzer College students who possess immense confidence, unabashed individuality, ideas on practically every social issue and boundless enthusiasm, providing a charge for you is probably pointless. But tradition cannot be overlooked; let me give it a try.
I just finished reading the Walter Isaacson biography of
Leonard da Vinci. I was struck by the fact that as an artist, da Vinci only
completed a few paintings and sculptures. However, they were masterpieces,
ahead of their time, classics that we know well and appreciate, from the Mona
Lisa to his famous painting of the Last Supper. We all have a limited time on
this earth, and I want to challenge you to produce a masterpiece in whatever
way you can; through your hands such as a work of art, your mind such as
creative writing, scholarship, a feat of engineering, or your heart, through
acting, through relationships, social ties or passionate societal engagement.
These are the kind of masterpieces that embody a commitment to intellectual
curiosity, intense observation, critical appreciation, perseverance, human
sympathy, discipline and diligence. And they add to the richness of our lives
and lives that come after.
I charge you to make the commitment to produce a masterpiece
that lives beyond your time and leaves a legacy for all of humanity.
My friends, I present to you the Pitzer College Class of two
thousand and nineteen!