Class Day

Guest Speaker | Student Speakers | Class Ode | Ames Award | Class Poem | Press Coverage

On May 28, 2014 the Class of 2014 and their friends and family gathered in Tercentenary Theater in Harvard Yard for the historic Class Day ceremony—a program meant to celebrate the undergraduate class on the day before Commencement. Class Day 2014 featured a stellar line-up, including many talented and thoughtful individuals from the Class of 2014, the beloved Interim Dean of the College Donald Pfister, President of the Harvard Alumni Association Cynthia Torres, and, of course, our keynote speaker Sheryl Sandberg. You can watch a complete video of Class Day 2014 here, or relive the highlights through the photos, video excerpts, and memories below.

Guest Speaker: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg
The Senior Class Committee would like to thank Sheryl Sandberg ‘91, Facebook COO and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, for joining us as our featured guest speaker on Class Day.

Watch Sheryl Sandberg’s Class Day Address

2014 Class Day Student Speakers

Adam Conner

Adam Conner

Harvard Male Orator
Winthrop House

Adam Conner ’14, originally from Hunt Valley, MD, is a resident of Winthrop House studying economics with a secondary in Dramatic Arts. Outside the classroom, Adam has performed in numerous theatrical productions with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club in leading and supporting roles, and spent the spring of 2013 touring as a cast member of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He has also held multiple leadership positions as a business editor of the Harvard Crimson. Finally, he is also a member of the Signet Society. He could not be more excited to be this year’s male Harvard Orator!

Watch Adam’s speech

Christy DiSilvestro

Christy DiSilvestro

Harvard Female Orator
Pforzheimer House

Christy is a senior Psychology concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. Exposure to the medical field and her coursework at Harvard have made her especially interested in the intersection of psychology and medicine, namely the psychological issues children and families can face after a traumatic injury or long-term diagnosis. Next year she is attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania to prepare her to become a psychological therapist at a children’s hospital, with the additional hope of performing research to aid in the prevention and detection of child maltreatment. On campus she is a psych research assistant, and she enjoys running, swimming, skiing, and horseback riding. She loves to laugh and spend time surrounded by friends and family.

Watch Christy’s speech

Zack Guzman

Zack Guzman

Ivy Male Orator
Leverett House

Hailing from the multiple hometowns of Chicago, Chantilly, Orange County, and Dallas, Zack has learned to cope with a terribly blended accent and an insatiable curiosity to constantly discover new things. In his time at Harvard he has appeared in anchor and correspondent roles for On Harvard Time, Harvard’s sketch-comedy news show. Since then he has dedicated much of his time to broadcasting Harvard basketball and football games for WHRB, Harvard’s student radio station, earning a brief cameo on CBS. More recently he can be found writing material for stand-up shows with the Harvard University Stand-Up Comic Society over a glass of iced tea. After graduating in May, Zack plans on pursuing a future of respiring and converting carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into ATP, which in his mind, could lead to an endless list of possibilities.

Watch Zack’s speech

Jenna Martin

Jenna Martin

Ivy Female Orator
Quincy House

Jenna Martin is a Quincy penguin concentrating in English with a secondary in VES – Film Production, which would be pretty impressive if she was actually a penguin. She served as head writer of On Harvard Time in her sophomore year and currently writes for the Harvard Lampoon. She has interned at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the culture desk at The New Yorker, where she was published twice on the magazine’s website. She is a Los Angeles native who wrote her Harvard supplement essay about her obsession with Disney movies. She loves editing films, jogging, and over-analyzing television shows.

Watch Jenna’s speech

Class Ode

Thank you to members of the Harvard University Band for writing and performing our Class Ode! The Class Ode consists of two original verses about our class set to the tune of “Fair Harvard”. Written and performed by: Ally Freedy, Sebastian Gomez, Radhika Jain, Stephen Kent, Jimmy Looney, and Georgia Shelton.

Class Ode

Come classmates and loved ones, rejoice on this day,
Take a breath now that four years have passed.
From bright Crimson lanyards to tassels and gown,
To the futures with which we’ve been tasked.
First housing day nerves, then storming the yard,
Taming Yale yet again and again.
All-nighters, plans changing, fears hidden and shared,
Still we stood not alone, but as friends.

Resolutely we plunged into erudite toil,
Treasured instincts of home we soon found.
Then deadlines, they seemed not to matter at all,
As we echoed the strength of this town.
Fair Harvard so dear, we cherish with pride,
Every upset and triumph we’ve lived,
Of science and art and of courage we’ve learned,
Now we part to create and to give.

Ames Award

Ames Award
Congratulations Majahonkhe Shabangu and Sarah Rosenkrantz!

The Ames Award is a very prestigious honor awarded to two students of the senior class, traditionally one man and one woman, during the Class Day ceremonies. While Harvard students are often commended for their many achievements, this award is unique in striving to identify individuals whose substantial contributions have not been acknowledged. In effect, the goal of this award is to honor two unsung heroes of the Class of 2014.

On June 19, 1935, Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames, brothers and Harvard students, gave their lives to save their father, who was washed overboard during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland. Every year since, the Ames Award has been given in their memory to recognize two students, traditionally one man and one woman, who have shown energy in helping others and who exhibit the same heroic character and inspiring leadership of the Ames brothers.

Class Poem

This year for the first time the Senior Class Committee chose to include a poem by one of our own classmates alongside the Class Day program. Thank you, James Wood, for so elegantly capturing our class and what many of us are thinking and feeling as we graduate with these verses.

The Many Paths of Harvard Yard
By Warner James Wood

On this eve of our Commencement,
The day when we are birthed forth
From the university gates, and sent
Out into the world, the air that hangs
Above the yard turns amniotic. Paved
Pathways spread out like arteries,

Connecting libraries and lecture halls,
Dormitories and dining halls, providing
Each with the life-blood it has required
For centuries, dissecting into asymmetrical
Parts this place, our yard, where we have all
Walked countless times. I walked these paths

Freshman year in tears after my first midterm,
When I realized that the game was the same
But the players were different. I walked them
A year later, from farther away, when I found
A second home in a House on the Charles.
And I will walk them tomorrow, when I shake

A hand and saunter under the iron-rod archway
Of Johnson Gate, with my head held high
In the pride of knowing that what I did
Was what I set out to do, and the sadness
Still lingering from goodbyes with friends,
And a small tinge of fear that the next step

I take, outside of Harvard Yard, is somehow
Different than the ones I took just seconds
Before. It has often bothered me that this yard
Is not what I had thought when I first thought
Of Harvard Yard, when I thought that it would
Be either a yard, an unobstructed table of green;

Or a beacon of something greater than a yard.
I am surprised each morning to find that there
Is no straight path leading me from one corner
Of this yard to the next, turning three times
Around splotches of grass, some angled, others
Curved, some bearing age-old trees, others

Bearing nothing at all. I wonder these mornings
Why the paths cross at such unequal angles,
Whether each is necessary, whether each
Was the careful marking of some intricate
Design. Recalling how form meets function,
I imagine how the inefficient turns I make

Each morning must be a sign that there is not,
Or should not be, a straight path to a destination.
That at Harvard one does not move directly,
That we do not merely become scientists
Or poets or bankers, but grow at odd, uneven
Angles to become parts of each. That we are not

Defined by our concentrations or social clubs
Or Houses, but are connected through a tangle
Of paths comprising a common experience
That is greater and worth more than each.
At a university like ours, I presumed these
Paths presented a puzzle that could be solved

Through tireless close-reading, that we could
Invent arguable theses about their inception,
That we could infer some notion of a lesson
They aspired to teach. But I have gone so far
As to look up maps of Harvard Yard throughout
The time of Harvard Yard, and I can tell you that

The view from above is not deliberate. The paths
Do not create an emblem of the Free Masons
Or the Illuminati, they do not mirror the paths
Of ancient coliseums or Greek monuments; new
Paths were laid with new buildings erected.
And perhaps I was more surprised than I should

Have been to find that these paths are just paths,
That they present no more of a puzzle than a means
Of connecting Harvard’s people to its places.
Perhaps, though we have been trained to glean
Meaning from the objects others deem meaningless,
Harvard Yard in its lack of symbolism has presented us

With its own lesson. These past four years have been
A privilege, a delicacy, a time of learning and growing,
Of changing our viewpoints by being exposed to new
Viewpoints. In these years we have learned how
To consider at a deeper level anything that exists
And even things that do not. But sometimes,

Out there, in the real world, where most are not
Afforded the luxury of a liberal arts education,
Paths are just paths. And sometimes, in order
To get where we are going in life, we will have
To take distorted walks made up of unequal angles,
Separating incongruous blotches of space. The beauty

Of our time here is that we are now able to consider
Ad nauseam these paths, why they exist, what lies
In the spaces between, how these paths could be made
Better. But the reality of our time away from Harvard Yard
Is that sometimes there is no sense to be made, no intention
Behind what is, no method to the madness of life, and though

We can and should think about the paths down which we trod,
And constantly question, there will be times when there are
No answers. In those times, just as we do every morning,
As we make three turns on our walks from our Houses
Through our yard, we will have to fix our eyes to the path
Ahead, and just keep moving forward.

Press Coverage

Senior Class Committee Names Class Day Student Speakers,” The Harvard Crimson, April 9 2014.

Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg ’91 To Headline College Class Day,” The Harvard Crimson, May 7 2014.

Sandberg named Class Day Speaker,” Harvard Gazette, May 7 2014.

Sandberg Urges Graduates To Open Themselves to Criticism, Seek Truth,” The Harvard Crimson, May 28 2014.

Lean in, speak out,” Harvard Gazette, May 28 2014.

Sheryl Sandberg Preaches the Value of Honesty,” Harvard Magazine, May 28 2014.

Sheryl Sandberg Tells Harvard Seniors to ‘Acknowledge the Hard Truths’,” Bostinno, May 29 2014.

Sheryl Sandberg’s Incredible Speech at Harvard Touches on Discrimination, Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Run, and Groucho Marx,” Vanity Fair, June 5 2014.