MIT President Reif's Charge to the Class of 2014

President L. Rafael Reif spoke to the Class of 2014 at MIT Commencement, June 6, 2014. #MIT2014

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  1. Read the full speech here:
  2. "To the graduates of 2014: Congratulations!"

  3. "Before we let you graduate, I am expected to give our graduating class a “charge.” This is a fancy way of saying that I am supposed to give you some advice. Since you have gotten yourselves this far without my advice, it isn’t clear that you need any from me now. (Except perhaps: “Watch your step going down the ramp.”) Quite frankly, coming up with advice that would be useful for people as talented as you are is a big challenge. So I am going to distract you for a minute with some advice that was given to me, by some of your fellow MIT students."
  4. President Reif's advice to the Class of 2014

  5. "I explained that I had to see some alumni who were members of the William Barton Rogers Society. I said, “These are graduates whose generosity makes it possible for you to be at MIT.” That impressed them. So I asked the students, “Is there anything you wish me to tell these important alumni?” After a moment, one of them replied, “Please tell them that MIT is a gift to the world.”
  6. Taking care of an MIT graduate

  7. "I think I should give the world some instructions for your care and feeding."
  8. "MIT Graduates are fairly exotic: only around one hundred and thirty thousand of them exist in the wild."
  9. The status quo is nothing more than the beta release

  10. "Whatever road you choose to travel, I want you to reject the idea that what you see in front of you is the best that we human beings can do. I want you to see the status quo as nothing more than the beta release — a place to start, because you know we can do better."
  11. Make the world a better place.

  12. "I want you to hack the world, until you make the world a little more like MIT. More daring and more passionate. More rigorous, playful and ambitious. More humble, more respectful, more generous and more kind."
  13. "...you leave us now equipped with a rare set of skills and steeped in this community’s deepest values: A commitment to excellence. Integrity. Meritocracy. Boldness. Humility. An open spirit of collaboration. A strong desire to make a positive impact. And a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place."
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