2011 Commencement weekend

More than 30,000 family members and friends gathered for Stanford's 120th Commencement Weekend. The keynote of Sunday's Commencement ceremony was an address by Felipe Calderón, president of Mexico. He spoke to the graduates who entered Stanford Stadium with the traditional Wacky Walk. Highlights on Saturday included the Baccalaureate address by the Rev. Gail E. Bowman, university chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans, the Class Day Lecture by Political Science Associate Professor Rob Reich and commencement ceremonies at the Graduate School of Business, Law School and Medical School. Below are highlights of some of the events.


Slideshow: Commencement weekend in pictures


L.A. Cicero Mexican President Felipe Calderon

Mexican President Felipe Calderón

Mexico's president tells Stanford grads: 'You must never, ever give up' on ideals

"Man's power to create is bigger than his power to destroy," said Mexico's President Felipe Calderón during Stanford's 120th Commencement. He urged young people to bypass the false dichotomies that pit environmental reform against economic growth. "It is possible to prevent climate change and foster growth simultaneously," he said, noting Mexico's initiatives to protect forests and other resources while generating income for families. Calderón gave his address before an audience of about 30,000 gathered to celebrate this year's graduating class.

L.A. Cicero John Etchemendy, Gail Bowman and John Hennessy

The Rev. Gail Bowman, center, with Provost John Etchemendy, left, and President John Hennessy.

Baccalaureate: You don't need to be perfect, the Rev. Gail Bowman tells the Class of 2011

"You don't have to live perfectly to be successful," the Rev. Gail E. Bowman told the Stanford University Class of 2011 during Saturday's Baccalaureate Celebration in the Main Quad. Accept and embrace the path that your faith leads, she told the graduating students. "Sometimes the things that do not go as planned, the things that are not executed perfectly, have a power all their own." Samuel J. Gould, who offered the student reflection, said the relationships he had formed on the Farm had changed his life forever, and that friends and classmates would "carry the community that is Stanford" as they make their way in the world.

L.A. Cicero Rob Reich lecture

Associate Professor Rob Reich

Class Day Lecture: Honor the Stanford mission, be of value to society, urges Reich

Rob Reich, associate professor of political science, exhorted members of the Class of 2011 to use their education not just for personal gain but also to better society. "As you commence the next stages of your life, remember this: Your education here has not been frivolous," he said. "It has qualified you for personal success, yes. But – not to put too much pressure on you – we adults are counting on you to solve the global financial crisis, to figure out the war on terror and to come up with the governance structure of the new social economy."

  GSB speaker Herb Allison

Herb Allison received his MBA from Stanford in 1971.

GSB commencement speaker's message to grads: Follow your personal compass

"Live by your own personal compass and speak honestly and openly. If you do that, you'll be fine." That was the simple advice offered by Herb Allison at this year's Graduate School of Business commencement ceremony on Saturday. Allison, who received his MBA from Stanford in 1971 and most recently headed the nation's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2009, stressed that what matters most is not particular career goals, such as building the next great tech company or leading a not-for-profit, but the code of conduct that one lives by. The afternoon ceremony honored 386 students who received MBA degrees, 18 PhDs, 59 who earned the Sloan Master of Science degree, and 6 Master of Arts in Business Research degrees.

Grad Images George Fisher at podium

George Fisher, co-director of Stanford Law School's Criminal Prosecution Clinic

Stanford law grads are urged to use the courage of their consciences

"Do you have the courage of conscience – the courage to resist pressures, however great or subtle, to ignore the inconvenient commands of your conscience?" That's the question George Fisher, co-director of Stanford Law School's Criminal Prosecution Clinic, asked the Law School's graduating class Saturday. Fisher urged students to prepare for those pressures and find the courage of their consciences. His delivered his address to more than 1,500 family members and friends at Stanford Law School's graduation ceremony, which included 193 candidates for the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence, 51 for Master of Laws degrees, 12 for degrees in Master of the Science of Law, four for Doctor of the Science of Law degrees, and two for the degree of Master of Legal Studies.

Norbert von der Groeben Medical School Dean Philip Pizzo chats with commencement speaker Elizabeth Blackburn

Dean Philip Pizzo MD, chats with commencement speaker Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, after the ceremonies.

Medical school graduates encouraged to boldly go where no one has gone before

Be fearless explorers, unafraid to go where no man or woman has gone before. Even if it means years spent studying obscure, single-celled creatures living in gunky water. Don’t be afraid to break down new barriers and uncover new worlds in unexpected places. This was the message to the School of Medicine’s 2011 graduating class from commencement speaker Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, a Nobel-prize winning scientist who spent years exploring the molecular workings of creatures in pond scum. Years of intense study of tiny creatures called Tetrahymena led to her groundbreaking discoveries that continue to provide insight into the mechanisms of disease processes and hopes for new therapies in the fight against cancer. This year's graduating class includes 38 master's of science degrees, 90 PhDs and 96 MDs.