Graduation Speech (draft)(2012-05-15 10:45:43)
Good morning, graduates, families, and friends.
The Chinese have a saying:
When we say “tree,” we are speaking of material that is useful, ideas that are hopeful, and purpose that is meaningful.
By that measure, you graduates are only halfway to being a “tree”！ However we must already put you out into the wild world!
Congratulations! Class of 2012!
It has been my pleasure and privilege to watch you grow and flourish.
Parents and families, I must also congratulate you.
An architecture education, as so many here can bear witness, is
a grueling course that tests each student’s commitment to design
and passion for life.
It would be nice to be able to tell you that this was the hard
part, but we all know that this is not the case—that your time here
has been nothing but preparation to situations that are harder,
prelude to challenges that are greater.
Allow me to express this through a realm I have a special
fondness and knowledge of:
You come to USC—promising, shining, beautiful young fruit
handpicked. In first year, you are de-stemmed and cleaned for the
rigorous process ahead.
Then we bring you the second phase: fermentation, You lie
crushed, split from your skin, as painful as it might be felt, your
essence extracted, your energy starts to release.
Next, through process called me-lactic fermentation, we linger over every attribute you carry, to make sure you have maximized your potential in aroma, alcohol, and tannin.
Then we bring you in the process of fining. To bring equilibrium in you. We work create a balance between your diverse strengths. Your taste is rounded with clarity and projected with beauty.
And now, it is the moment of your accomplishment.
USC and the School of Architecture may have been a vineyard for
each of you and all of us.
However, let us slow down and allow me to encourage you,
encourage you to continue to develop your vintage in good barrels
with patience. You are still young wine that has not yet achieved
its highest potential. This may sound controversial in the troubled
economic time. But this is the right time and best time to think
Invest in great relationships; work and relate to great, cool
people, people who have new ideas, the courage to experiment,
generosity towards young minds, and most importantly, honesty of
Invest in your peers and classmates.
Invest in yourself and make learning a lifelong commitment. For many of you, your pedagogical exploration of architecture began within Watt and Harris Hall, but this exploration must continue in your journey. Think critically, do creatively, and go globally. It is criticality and creativity that will harvest your investment anywhere in the world.
Regardless of the barrel and treatment of a great wine, its
essential character remains the same: true to it’s land, true to
it’s plant, and true to it’s value.
No matter how the world transforms, and how this transformation
challenges Architecture, Architecture is the most clear and
pervasive manifestation of thoughts and ideals for each society and
Be creative with your future.
Thank you and congratulations, the Vintage of 2012.