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Commencement Day Articles
Duck Story · The Day Itself · Honoris Causa · Let There Be Awe
"Gone Outta Here" · Learning On Line · Commencement Confetti · The Return of the Obstinate
Yellow Light Breen '93, J.D. '96, of Cambridge and St. Albans, Maine, gave the Graduate English Oration, one of the traditional student "parts," during the formal exercises on Commencement morning. His topic was brain drain.
Nearly 70 percent of recent Harvard Law graduates took employment in only three states and the District of Columbia. A similar, though less extreme, picture emerges across the University: 56 percent of its graduate students, 55 percent of its M.B.A.s, and over half of its medical doctors also settle in the same four locations. A few moments from now, rather than inviting us to join the company of learned men and women, it might be more apt for President Rudenstine to invite us to join the company of the coastal, urban intellectual gentry.
| President Rudenstine greets the oldest alumna in the alumni parade. She is Evelyn Hoffman '20, 96, of Newton Center, Massachusetts. |
What should we make of this massive brain drain? It may be that our countrymen are pleased to have the subversives removed from their midst. It may be that others would make the same choice if given the opportunity. A down-at-the-heel acquaintance of mine back home in rural Maine is fond of saying that, "If you could buy a bus ticket with food stamps, we'd all be gone outta here."
Perhaps those of us who graduate today, and those who come after, ought to reevaluate our choices because these choices may be bad for us, and they seem almost certainly bad for America. The
|Aide Robert Bikel '91, G '92, of Beverly Hills, California, and Erika Forbes '91 of Washington, D.C., distribute class signs to marchers. |
Far from oppressing us, leaving the nation's intellectual nurseries might revitalize us. In exclusive suburbs, gated compounds, or guarded highrises, we may be safe-at least for the moment-but we are not healthy. It is only a small step from aggregation to segregation. The result is a failure or inability to invest our time and love in the participatory civic organizations that refresh our humanity, and a nostalgia for a kind of civic life that still thrives in many of the places we have left behind.
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