Sonia Nazario’s ’82 Convocation speech is now available. Kudos to the College for setting this up. Although I am a huge fan of Nazario’s writing, I found her speech less impressive.

Although I appreciated and enjoyed life at Williams, I was always struck by how many aspects of life were absent here. There was little opportunity to understand how most Americans — much less most people in the world — live.

It seemed a strange dichotomy: people came to this place to open their minds, for a liberal arts education. Yet their time here, and lives afterwards, were spent in a comfortable bubble, often so apart and unaware of the rest. In that way, Williams fueled my desire to write about social issues and take myself — and other people — to places they might not otherwise go.

The invisible worlds.

The worlds far beyond Williams.

Nothing wrong with this, and her opening and closing are tied nicely together. I’d also wager that this speech was very specific and special to the occasion of a Williams Convocation, unlike some recent hack repeats that come to mind.

She has some heart-wrenching stories, but they seem disjointed to me. The speech also seems too long and I would have liked more Williams material.

So, busy readers of EphBlog would be better off reading her Pulitzer-winning articles than this speech.

Then again, if memory serves, I blew off my own Convocation, so perhaps I am not the best judge. Did the seniors who were there like the speech?

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