2016-09-08  来自: 山西剑桥国际学校 浏览次数:665




In the curious custom of this venerableinstitution, I find myself standing before you expected to impart words oflasting wisdom. Here I am in a pulpit, dressed like a Puritan minister –anapparition that would have horrified many of my distinguished forebears andperhaps rededicated some of them to the extirpation of witches. This momentwould have propelled Increase and Cotton into a true “Mather lather”. But hereI am and there you are and it is the moment of and for Veritas.


You have been undergraduates for fouryears. I have been president for not quite one. You have known threepresidents; I one senior class. Where then lies the voice of experience? Maybeyou should be offering the wisdom. Perhaps our roles could be reversed and I could,in Harvard Law School style, do cold calls for the next hour or so.


We all do seem to have made it to thispoint-more or less in one piece. Though I recently learned that we have notprovided you with dinner since May 22. I know we need to wean you from Harvardin a figurative sense. I never knew we took it quite so literally.


But let’s return to that notion of coldcalls for a moment. Let’s imagine this was a baccalaureate service in the formof Q&A, and you were asking the questions. “What is the meaning of life,President Faust? What were these four years at Harvard for? President Faust,you have learned something since you graduated from college exactly 40 yearsago?” (Forty years. I’ll say it out loud since every detail of my life-andcertainly the year of my Bryn Mawr degree-now seems to be publicly available.But please remember I was young for my class. )


In a way, you have been engaging me in thisQ&A for the past year. On just these questions, although you have phrasedthem a bit more narrowly. And I have been trying to figure out how I mightanswer and, perhaps more intriguingly, why you were asking.


Let me explain. It actually began when metwith the UC just after my appointment was announced in the winter of 2007. Thenthe questions continued when I had lunch at Kirkland House, dinner at Leverett,when I met with students in my office hours, even with some recent graduates Iencountered abroad. The first thing you asked me about wasn’t curriculum oradvising or faculty contact or even student space. In fact, it wasn’t alcoholpolicy. Instead, you repeatedly asked me: why are so many of us going to WallStreet? Why are we going in such numbers from Harvard to finance, consulting,i-banking?


There are a number of ways to think aboutthis question and how to answer it. There is the Willie Sutton approach. Youmay know that when he was asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “Becausethat’s where the money is.” Professors Claudia Goldin and Larry Kats, whom manyof you have encountered in your economics concentration, offer a not dissimilaranswer based on their study of student career choices since the seventies. Theyfind it notable that, given the very high pecuniary rewards in finance, manystudents nonetheless still choose to do something else. Indeed, 37 of you havesigned on with Teach for America; one of you will dance tango and work in dancetherapy in Argentina; another will be engaged in agricultural development inKenya; another, with an honors degree in math, will study poetry; another willtrain as a pilot with the USAF; another will work to combat breast cancer.Numbers of you will go to law school, medical school, and graduate school. But,consistent with the pattern Goldin and Katz have documented, a considerablenumber of you are  time to time, and let us know.





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