REFLECTIONS: Last Words of the Graduating Class

2013 commencement. Photo: John MotternThe Citizen asked students to share their ‘last words’ in mini 140-character messages, adopting a practice from the social-networking service, Twitter. Why 140 characters? Well, Twitter founders chose 140 characters to stay within the limit of worldwide text-messaging services (at 160 characters). They didn’t want messages to be broken up in multiple parts when sent over phones. The 140 characters enabled them to stay within the limit with enough characters for a username and colon. Understanding that brevity and clarity is central to messaging in our modern day world, we adopted the 140-character limit for last words from the graduating class.

As you will see, some HKSers refuse to stay within a mold and posted longer messages. We allowed a few of them because we were resigned to the fact that this is their special day (a graduation day). (A friendly reminder as you re-enter the working world: Not all bureaucracies are as flexible.) 

Jo Adamson, MC/MPA: “Mal and Niger here I come. Do come to stay. Jo.”

Saurabh Agarwal, MPA: “Most imp learning at HKS – see humans as humans, don’t judge anyone, be curious and follow your dream.”

Akol Aguek, MPA: “Impressed with the experience.”

Irfan Alam, MC/MPA: “Any Development can’t be achieved without Peace and Peace can only be achieved by Empowering others.”

Redha Alhaidar, MC/MPA: “life.. one step at a time”

Katie Alijewicz, MPP: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” -Yogi Berra

Julius Alip, MC/MPA: “Thank you very much for the wonderful experience HKS!”

Nikoloz Anasashvili, MPP: “HKS, I am grateful! Friends, I will miss you! (Davit Guramishvil-ma: „სწავლის ძირი მწარე არის“-ო… აბა მოვკურცხლეთ კენწეროსკენ.)”

Jieun Baek, MPP: “Be vulnerable to those you love and to those who love you. Let your guard down to those you trust.  No one has to be strong all the time”

Dan Bahat, MC/MPA: “Great year. Wonderful amazing people! Hope to see you all in the future!”

Shradha Balakrishnan, MPA: “Embark on journeys. So Stay hungry. Stay foolish. When in doubt, just believe. #haiku”

Bahruz Balayev, MC/MPA: “It will be difficult to unlearn what I have learned.” Bahruz Balayev, J.S.D. Mason Fellow’14

Adam Banasiak, MPP: “#Bloehðjer”

Michelle Barmazel, MC/MPA: “Best decision ever: Leaving it to HKS to choose my friends! Thanks for 2 years with some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. I will miss you all!

Peter Barth, MPP: “Grateful to my family, friends, James, and my dad, Russ Barth (1944-2014). Today is possible because of him – I made it, pops!”

Amanda Benton, MPP: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child…or a redeemed social condition… This is to have succeeded.”

Stephanie Cappa, MPP: “WELCOME Dan-Mom-Dad-Jeff-Caren-Sylvie-Margot and THANK YOU for sharing this huge day with me!”

Amy Chang, MPP: “Bleürdheijr”

Jonathan Chang, MC/MPA: “The best academic experience I have ever had! Till we meet again …”

Jiaoli Chen, MC/MPA: “Thanks for my dearest fellow friends who have given me a fresh pair of eyes to see my country differently, and to see the world differently. I feel so blessed to be part of this fabulous cohort!  Let’s be each other’s wings, to lift each other’s dreams!”

Deidre Ciliento, MPP: “To my family – Thank you for your love and support. Together we will make the world a better place. I love you.”

Eduardo Cruz, MC/MPA: “Lifelong friends and an educational experience so profound that will keep us learning for years to come.  Thank you class of 2014!”

Dave Dequeljoe, MC/MPA: “The possibilities in life are endless, never give up on your dreams. Hope to laugh with everyone again in NYC and all over the world!”

Adolph Dubose, MC/MPA: “For Such A Time As This!”

Mohammed Eisa, MC/MPA: “My purpose is to make the disadvantaged and ill happy.”

Vincent Enriquez, MC/MPA: “To all my classmates and professors: Thanks for the great experience!”

Kimberly Everett, MPP: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” -Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Limani Faton, MC/MPA: “It has been a great year and experience! I am very thankful to my family and friends especially to my wife and my daughter for supporting me during this journey. Love you all.”

Ashley Freeland, MPP: “To my family and fiancé, Brice – Thank you! I would never have gotten here without your unconditional love and support!”

David Garfunkel, MPP: “Grateful for this remarkable opportunity; privileged beyond compare; anxious for the challenges ahead; happy to be done!”

Abuzaid Ghada, MPA: “Before coming to Harvard, one year seemed a long time frame to me. But here it went by fast like a short sweet dream of a journey on a fast train. Despite its brevity, the journey was full of deep reflection and practical learning and sharing about how to make the world a better place and serve with passion and wisdom, courage and compassion. The passengers are incredible doers who have become a bonded family that will for sure disembark from the journey, but will forever bear and share the honor and responsibility of belonging to Harvard Kennedy School. Congratulation on our achievements! Let’s continue the journey of profound contributions.”

Amir Gharbi, MPP: Seek more responsibility: “Get deeply involved. It won’t work without involvement. We’ve got to have impact.” Verne Johnson, Citizens League

Subhash Ghimire, MPP: “Let us not seek for validation but go out and do the most difficult task of helping people realize their dreams!”

Mali Granot, MC/MPA: “Thanks for great class mates, wonderful teachers, amazing discussions and a fabulous mixture of International and American experience. Mali”

John Green, MC/MPA: “It has been such an honor learning from all of you this year, and I’m grateful to count myself as your friend and colleague.”

Jiyoung Han, MPP: “blrrdrr”

Philip Harding, MPP: “Nothing is impossible.”

Marcus Haymon, MPA: “#hkssloandualies #greatpowers #blackpolicymatters #unforgettableexperience”

I-Chun Hsiao, MPP: “Avoid the herd mentality. Determine what is best for you and don’t be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum.”

Stephen Huie, MPP: “It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.” – Cesar Chavez

Sebastian Johnson, MPP: “How long? Not long. Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne; yet that scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow”

Intae Jun, MC/MPA: “You will always be with me.”

Seongho Kim, MC/MPA: “Sujin and Minju, thanks so much for your great support. I love you! Friends, great to be with you here at Harvard Kennedy School.”

Decontee T. King-Sackie, MPA-M: My thanks to God Almighty, my Creator!!!  I dedicate my MPAM Degree to my family, friends and Liberia but especially my daughter, Teri J. Sackie.

Frank Kuzminski, MC/MPA: “It’s been a pivotal year in my life, both personally and professionally.  I’ve grown and learned from everyone.  Best of luck to all!”

Bhavna Lall, MC/MPA: ““Be the change you wish to see in the world.” An amazing year learning from you all, good luck to everyone in the future!”

Marina LeGree, MC/MPA: “Thank you to my wonderful husband, family & friends for all your support this year, and to my amazing classmates for re-energizing and inspiring me.”

Sylvia Leung, MPP: “I leave HKS w/more passion, compassion & curiosity.  Lots of love & gratitude to Mom, Jie & Sherman who helped me thrive at HKS & beyond!”

Shimon Gal Levy, MPP: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou, #StayTrueHKS

Faton Limani, MC/MPA: “It has been a great year and experience! I am very thankful to my family and friends, especially to my wife and my daughter for supporting me during this journey. Love you all.”

Marina Linhart, MPP: “We spent two years believing in ourselves, our passions, our goals. Don’t stop. Believe improbable, crazy, audacious dreams. Follow them.”

Tomás Lopes Teixeira, MPP: “Emancipation of all men is a highly incomplete project, but let us not despair. Speed shall give way to direction: virtue and joy.”

Julissa, Marenco, MC/MPA: “Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it.” -If, Rudyard Kipling

Christina Marin, MPP: “In loving gratitude for my grandparents, Albert W. and Elizabeth Cherne. I hope I can carry out your vision for the world in my work and actions.”

JF Magana, MC/MPA: “I need no luck, only friends”

Raffaele Mauro, MPA: “Information wants to be free”

Tim McDonald, MPP: “Believe.”

Honor McGee, MPP: “Thank you HKS for helping me define my passion for public service. Excited for what the future holds and to make a difference.”

Ishani Mehta, MPP: “Thanks to HKS I’ll have a friend in every country.”

Aubrey Merpi, MPP: “To ask what you can do is to first and foremost ask who you are.”

Budimir Milic, MC/MPA: “HKS networking = procrastinating + (friends x beer).”

Anna Naupa, MC/MPA: “Friends, Faculty and Fellow Students – thanks for an awesome HKS experience!”

Ifueko Okauru, MC/MPA: “Many thanks to family, faculty and friends for making these past 11 months worth every cent spent and every second of my time.”

Soryoung Park, MPP: “For my great friends and myself, Take Swing, and Have Fun.”

Greg Pavone, MPP: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me!”

Tim Purinton, MC/MPA: “The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”  Wendell Berry

Saadia Qayyum, MPP: “I’ll remember HKS for providing me with the opportunity to meet the most diverse group of people from across the world and learn about their inspiring stories. I graduate from here with the passion to continue learning from each and every person around me.”

Adam Ranson, MPA: “Thank you to my family, my incredible HKS friends, and especially my amazing fiancée Vivian Lu (MPP ‘13).”

Elva Richardson, MC/MPA: “This was an enlightening experience, a real awakening, a true beginning…”

Roman Rubchenko, MC/MPA: “When the moment comes, choose the red pill, it will make all the difference in the world.”

Alyson Gounden Rock, MC/MPA: “Thanks for an amazing year. Looking forward to what we will do to change the world for the better. Come stay if you are back in Cambridge!”

Cristian Rodriguez- Chiffle, MC/MPA: “Thank you HKS for a year of inspiration at the forum, the balcony and the dance floor. Never forget to keep loving life while making the world a better place!”

Akiko Saito, MC/MPA: “Thank you all for this amazing year. I love this world even more because I know you are somewhere out there, probably struggling for the others.”

Juan Carlos Salazar, MC/MPA: “We had an unforgettable year meeting very inspiring people. Maria, Juan the magician and I hope to see you if your path crosses Dubai!”

Steven Sarao, MC/MPA: “Awesome year, amazing people, experiences and ideas…Go forth and serve”

Neha Sharma, MPA: “What an amazing way to spend two years of my life! Will always remember…”

Emily Sherwood, MC/MPA: “Goodbye to my wonderful class, full of big-hearted women and men.  Thinking of you doing your best in the world will help me to do my best.”

Ben Simms, MC/MPA: “I would just like to say thanks to everyone. Meeting you all has made the world seem much smaller and warmer than it was a year ago.”

Jason Smith, MC/MPA: “Here’s to family, new friends, and great expectations. Go do important things…for we have promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep.”

Brendan Stickles, MC/MPA: “I love you Katie, Megan, Jack & Declan!”

Yariv Sultan, MC/MPA: “Thank you Liora, Inbal, Libi and Bar, for your love and support. An amazing family allowed me an amazing year.”

Anirudh Suri, MPA: “Can’t believe it’s over! Can’t wait to be back in Cambridge soon! Thanks, HKS, for a great journey. And best of luck to all graduates.”

Ty Tillett, MPP: “Mission Accomplished”

Shanah Tirado, MPA: “3 years. 2 degrees. 1 heck of a journey. And so begins the rest of our lives. Congrats class of 2014!!!”

Andrea Titus, MPP: “blyr(r)dyr(r)”

Dorothy M. Tuma, MC/MPA: “Ever thankful that we got to explore what we can do together. Truly a humbling privilege as well as a responsibility. Best!”

Ernesto Umana, MPP: “Por la raza todo.”

Miguel Villalobos, MPA: “The real journey starts now, and there are no better travel partners than my fellow HKS graduates.”

Theron Tingstad, MC/MPA: “What happy moments did I count! Blessed was I then all bliss above! Now, for that consecrated fount, ff murmuring, sparkling, living love.”

Jesse Tipton Wallin, MPA: “fiat justitia ruat caelum”

Xi Wang, MPA: “Thank you, Harvard & HKS, for endless inspiration, precious friendships, and new lens with which to appreciate the world!”

Ben Weinryb-Grohsgal, MPP: “Blüïürrdr”

Hannah Weinstock, MPP: “Love you all! Si se puede!”

Ursula Wellen, MC/MPA: “Feeling grateful for a very special year. Thank you, classmates, teachers, family!”

Maggie Williams, MPP: “bløerderh”

Alex Wilpon, MPP: “Thank you to all of the amazing people I have met at HKS and HGSE over the past two years. The diversity of experiences and perspectives created an incomparable learning environment.”

Nick Wilson, MPP: “May we always act boldly, surround ourselves with good friends, and drink the finer things in life.”

Kota Yasumura, MC/MPA: “Thank you so much for people who supported me. This year was the best year in my life!”

Kazuo Yoshida, MC/MPA: “I’ll never forget the memory of HKS. Thanks to all of friends and professors. I have found new objectives in my life. I will continue to ask, what I can do? And do actions.”

Irene Yu, MPP: “I can remember vividly at the beginning of the orientation, the speaker asked each of us to write down three names that changed our life path at that particular moment. Now that I’m leaving, I tried to do the same ritual for myself, but I failed. Too many things and too many people I met changed me during these two years. Thank you Kennedy School for making who I am today and I’m ready to explore the world now.”

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