Federer’s Dartmouth smash

I last attended a Dartmouth commencement for my youngest daughter’s graduation nine years ago and wrote up “Notes on Dartmouth commencement ’15.” Dartmouth holds the commencement ceremony outdoors rain or shine. In 2010 we had attended commencement on the Green for our middle daughter when it was rainy and cold. In 2015 the skies cleared around 9:30, leaving a few clouds hanging like feathers in the sky. The temperature reached into the 80s. Commencement was spectacularly beautiful.

The crowd at commencement swells with many grandparents who expend the not inconsiderable energy it takes to get to and from Hanover. As with such ceremonies elsewhere, one cannot miss the uplifting love and pride the families take in their graduates. I found myself sitting roughly where my parents and three grandparents had sat 42 years earlier, within shouting distance of the same classrooms where my mind was opened (certainly) and freed (at least to some extent) from the superstitions of the age. It was a powerful experience.

It was raining at commencement this past Sunday. Tennis great Roger Federer was the commencement speaker. He found the grass congenial. He professed nervousness, but for some reason or other he seemed comfortable in front of a large crowd. In his address he covered a lot of the court and offered generally applicable “tennis lessons.” The BBC played it straight in “Federer rejects ‘effortless’ theory in graduation speech.”

Dartmouth has posted the text of the speech here. I have posted the video below. I thought some readers might find it of interest and perhaps enjoy it, as I did.

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