Commencement 2007:
Madeleine Albright Says Leadership Is About Making a Difference

June 1, 2007
Arlie Corday,

Commencement BeginningsWELLESLEY, Mass. -- At Wellesley College’s 129th Commencement on June 1, former U.S. Secretary of State and Wellesley College alumna Madeleine K. Albright told the 560 members of the class of 2007 that it is time “to move beyond preparing to doing.”

“That is why leadership is so often found in simple acts of self-expression, when, for example, we challenge a falsehood that has been advertised as truth, when we call injustice by its name, when we go out of our way to help another, or when we choose a career that is less about making money than about making a difference,” Albright said.

A 1959 graduate of Wellesley, Albright was the first female U.S. secretary of state. Before her appointment, she served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and as a member of President Clinton's Cabinet and National Security Council.

Following in a tradition begun by Senator Hillary R. Clinton, Wellesley class of 1969, graduating senior Yamini Jha of Minneapolis served as the student commencement speaker. Addressing her fellow members of the class of 2007, Jha encouraged them to have “the determination to elicit change in today’s divided world.”

As to the question of why it is their responsibility, Jha noted, “Because, after four years of intense instruction, dedication to our goals and leaving our eternal mark on this campus we will forever regard as home – it is time for us to act on our inspirations outside of this 'Wellesley bubble' and see to it that our communal dream is at last fulfilled."

Wellesley College President Diana Chapman Walsh, who is stepping down from her job on June 30, shared her hopes in her “Charge to the Class,” her traditional commencement address.

“I hope we’ve enhanced your confidence and instilled in you a sense of responsibility for the impact you as an individual can have in any system or setting,” Walsh said. “I hope we’ve taught you how to think well, how to learn well and how to go on learning — yes, that most of all.”

Walsh asked the Class of 2007 to do “your part to transform the world from the inside out, seeing your first and most sacred task as the work of transforming yourselves — not once and for all, but over and over, greeting with an open mind and a courageous heart the hard questions that life will continue asking of you.”

Three professors — Rachid Aadnani, Middle Eastern studies; John S. Cameron, biological sciences; and Nancy P. Genero, psychology — were honored with the Pinanski Teaching Prize, which is awarded annually to members of the Wellesley College faculty to honor fine teaching. Nominations are submitted by the College community.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to For more about Commencement, including speeches and photos from the ceremony, go to Commencement/.