Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Summer Commencement includes message from Dalai Lama

An estimated 300 graduate and undergraduate students in cap and gown took their final steps in pursuit of degrees Aug. 14: that important walk across the stage to accept a diploma from Chancellor Robert Coombe.

But before the assembled doctoral, law, master’s and bachelor’s degrees were handed out, Sturm College of Law Professor Ved Nanda brought the new graduates a message from a spiritual leader.

Nanda and a handful of his students had a 90-minute meeting with the Dalai Lama earlier this year. During their discussion, the Dalai Lama brought up the subject of higher education and sent a message back to DU with Nanda.

“His message was for us, who have had the privilege of higher education, which is denied to billions around the world,” Nanda told the assembled crowd. “We who have been given the opportunity to get a higher education and attend such beautiful institutions as these have a duty to make the world a better place.”

Coombe welcomed the assembled crowd of graduates, family, friends and faculty. He reminded graduates to remember all of those who helped them during their journey.

“I hope that you will take pride in what we have accomplished together,” Coombe said. “We are very, very proud of you.”

Nanda, a DU faculty member since 1965, read through a litany of DU graduates who have gone on to lead the world in government, military posts, law and business. He told the new graduates they don’t necessarily have to achieve such lofty heights but they should remember the Dalai Lama’s words and do their best to make a positive difference.

“Much is expected of those to whom much is given,” he said. “The Dalai Lama’s message is one of love and compassion and care,” Nanda said.

The burden of privilege is heavy, Nanda warned. But he reminded the graduates to also celebrate their achievements along the way.

“The future is yours. This century is yours. Go for it,” he said. “But first, today, go and simply celebrate.”

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