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Wedding Ideas & Inspiration
2018 Harris Public Policy Hooding Ceremony

2018 Harris Public Policy Hooding Ceremony

name is Kate Shannon Biddle. I’m the Director of
Student Affairs– [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] I’m the Director
of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students at the
University Of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. It is my pleasure to welcome
you today as we award degrees to these 2018 Harris graduates. I would like to first introduce
Jeremy Edwards, Senior Associate Dean for Academic
and Student Affairs to share some thoughts
with our graduates. Jeremy? [APPLAUSE] JEREMY EDWARDS: OK. Collective deep breath. Greetings, everyone. Today is truly a special
day for the university. Every person in this
room in some way has uniquely contributed
to the progress and success we celebrate today. We celebrate the accomplishments
of our graduates, but we also celebrate the
accomplishments of the parents and families in the
room with us today that have provided students with
the motivation, the mentorship, the comfort, and for some of
you, the financial support– I know– to allow our
graduates the opportunity to thrive during their time here
at the University of Chicago. But today, we also celebrate
the broader Harris community. We’ve all heard before it takes
a village to raise a child. And I believe in the same
way it takes a village to educate the next generation
of evidence-based thinkers and leaders. Our faculty teach, and they
challenge, and they mentor. And our staff provide the
support and services to ensure our students can excel. And our alumni and our
friends of the school provide advice, and
mentorship, and guidance. We are all uniquely
a part of the recipe. And today, I want to acknowledge
and show my personal gratitude to everyone that puts in the
extra hours, the extra thought, the extra care, and
effort to make the student experience at Harris truly
meaningful, transformative, and everlasting. So thank you, everyone,
for your work. And [INAUDIBLE] yes. [APPLAUSE] And to our graduates, graduation
is indeed a momentous occasion. It’s time to celebrate
your hard work, your personal and
professional growth, and your academic mastery. Today also marks a major
transition in your life. As a recipient of a diploma
from the University of Chicago, you now carry an
obligation forever to be a driver of serious
and positive influence in the world. And as a graduate
of Harris, many will look to you for answers. And I can say that you
are now prepared to tackle the most complicated and
important issues we all face today. If I could offer a few thoughts
of advice, it would be, although your education
with us ends today, please never stop learning. Be a player in
creating the world that you want for yourself. Your training here positions
you to do that very thing. I think we’ve all learned this
past year that our assumptions and predictions of all
sorts do not always pan out the way that we envision them. The jobs that might
excite you today, the people that might
inspire you today, the opportunities
that might strengthen your career in the future,
all of this is unpredictable. I found that,
throughout my own life, the most impactful
people are those who have an unquenchable
thirst for continued learning, instead of assuming that there’s
nothing left to discover. Please be willing to try,
and fail, and do it again. All of you are bound
together by a profound belief in the possibilities
for a better world, not just for yourself, but also
for those that you will never meet in person. When your minds are
open to learning, , and listening and working with
new people, and new ideas, and new thoughts, there’s no
telling what your future will be like. You will solve
problems that many will tell you are
unsolvable and you will exceed your own expectations. And you will do things that
will ultimately shock the world. And all of us here on
stage and in this room are all so eager and excited
to go watch you do that. So I encourage you to leave
today fearless and motivated to conquer the problems
that demand your attention. We are all so very proud of
you, and congratulations. [APPLAUSE] The student voice is crucial
to who we are here at Harris. It is the most
authentic narrative we can offer as a school. And so I’m thrilled to introduce
this year’s student speaker, Monica Torres Valencia. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] I think she’s popular. [LAUGHTER] Monica is a Master of
Public Policy Candidate and Co-Executive Director
of the Inter-Policy School Summit at the Harris School. She is passionate
about food systems and wants to revolutionize
the landscape of sustainably produced goods in Mexico. She previously worked with
United Nations Environment Program office in
Mexico and is looking to work on the development
of a social enterprise that aims to connect sustainable
rural producers in Mexico with consumers
interested in ethical and environmentally
produced goods. She’s also currently interning
with the Chicago-based organization Fresh Taste,
working on a cultural value change project for
Latino communities in the Greater
Chicago land area. Monica also majored in
biology at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico prior
to coming to the Harris School. Please join me in welcoming
friends, faculty, Harris staff, and loved ones, thank you
for being here with us today. I would like for us to
think back to the moment when we chose to
apply to grad school. What was it that drove
us to make that decision? Why was it the right
moment to take a chance and study a graduate program? What was it we were
hoping to learn? Why did we choose public policy? About 22 months ago,
during for the first three week of classes, my
soul was crushed. Coming to Harris had become
one of the hardest challenges I had ever experienced. And I became really tempted to
grab the first plane back home and not come back. I found myself seated in
classes where I could barely understand anything after
the first 10 minutes into the lecture. The workload was intense
and the time scarce. For the first time in
my life, I was neither the brightest nor
the best in class, and I had been put
into a position where I needed to ask for help
to succeed academically. However, I was not
the only one going through this difficult process. In fact, over the
course of the program, almost everyone was
pulling in late night hours and some even sleepless nights. We worked through a
problem sets trying to understand whether
the demand had to shift upwards or downwards,
read long and difficult research papers,
spent hours trying to identify where was it
that the code went wrong? And all of this expecting
that the number of hours we were investing
would hopefully be directly correlated
with not failing the class. At some point,
many of us stopped to wonder, why were we putting
ourselves through this? We knew there were
other programs out there that were not as
challenging or demanding. And still, here we were
trying to understand better how the world works
and acquiring the best skills possible to change it. Change the world. That is quite the challenge, but
throughout the last 22 months here at Harris, I have
met some of the most bright and inspiring
people in my life– the perfect candidates to
accomplish this change. By choosing to
study public policy, we have been giving the amazing
opportunity and responsibility to dedicate our
lives to help raise the voice of the voiceless
so that they can be heard. We have been provided with the
necessary tools and skills that will allow us to go out into
the world, break the status quo and change things
for the better. If there is the common
characteristic all of us here today share is that
we see the many injustices in the world, and we
want to do everything in our power to change them. When people ask us what we
are studying, some of us have experienced the
typical reaction. So you want to
become a politician? It is a common assumption
to make when one mentions public policy school. However, even when
some of our graduates here are on their
way to becoming outstanding public
servants, it is a diversity of backgrounds and
professional goals that make our class
so exceptional. We have colleagues
who are fighting to end racial injustice and
achieve gender equality, who are working for efficient
universal health, who believe in a world where
everyone has access to high quality and
affordable education, who are experts on energy, fiscal,
and financial policy, who are engaged to end
inequality and improve economic development,
and who are working towards making
the world a sustainable place for everyone. Regardless of our policy
focus, talent and passion are what I have seen from the
aisles of the Harris School for the past two years. But even the greatest
disruptors of our time have had some sort
of guidance that led them to achieve
their highest potential. We all chose to come to
Harris for different reasons, but we are all graduating today
carrying that name and title with pride for the
rest of our lives. I strongly believe there will
be very few moments in our lives where we will have
the opportunity to meet as many people
at the same time who share very similar, if not
the same interests as us. Being at Harris allowed
us the opportunity to learn from and be challenged
by some of the greatest minds of our times. We were exposed to so
many different cultures that we can now
better understand why different people think
the way they think and allow for a conversation. And conversation is
indeed the starting point of good public policy. Here at Harris, we
have learned that we should begin this conversation
knowing the facts by gathering the necessary data
that will allow to make better and informed decisions– decisions that change
people’s lives. And today, we are
all going forward in our professional
careers understanding the perfect balance between
passion and science. We are now part of change, part
of a process for better things to come. And we must not forget how is
it that we got to this point. It was indeed our hard work and
effort that got us here today, but we are part of
something bigger. Our families– I am forever
grateful to mine for all of the support they
have given me– our mentors– who made time
to guide us in the right direction– our friends– who stay with
us for the toughest of times– and all of the Harris
faculty and staff– who work every day to
make this school the best source of the next
generation of policy leaders. On this day, I would
like to remind those that public policy
is about hope. The road to doing
good and better is not an easy career
path, and will always be one that requires a
substantial amount of effort and hard work. There might be more things we
cannot change than things we can. And there will be
countless moments when we feel discouraged
and ready to give up. But remember, we are all,
from our very own trench, trying to fight the good fight. And even though there will
be those who try to stop us, it is our intrinsic passion that
will allow us to keep going. What is most
comforting about this is the fact that
we are not alone. Today, there are 180 of
us graduating and 180 of us who have become
colleagues, friends, and family. From now on, we have each other
to remind us to keep going, to keep dreaming, and
to keep moving forward. My dear friends, thank
you for everything you have taught me in the last
two years, and congratulations. I can’t wait to
see all the good we will do from our own
corners of the world. Thank you. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] JEREMY EDWARDS: Harris
has a long-held tradition. Each year at
graduation, we invite an alumna of the school
to return and offer a message to our graduates. This year’s distinguished
alumna speaker is New York state
senator Liz Krueger, and graduate from 1981. First elected to the
New York State Senate in a special election
in February 2002, Liz Krueger is the
ranking democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee
in addition to serving on six other committees. Senator Krueger has made
reforming and modernizing New York state’s government,
political process, and tax policy the central
goals of her legislative agenda. She is one of New York’s
most recognized advocates for transformative good
government reforms, from overhauling outdated,
inadequate campaign finance laws, to transforming the
opaque state budget process. Senator Krueger is also a strong
advocate for tenants’ rights, affordable housing, improved
access to health care, social services, more equitable
funding for public education– including higher education– animal welfare, and more. Prior to her election
to the Senate, Senator Krueger
served for 15 years as the associate director of the
Community Food Resource Center, where she was responsible
for expanding access to government programs for
low income New Yorkers. Before that, she was
a founding director of the food bank for
New York City, where she built that
organization into one that now serves an estimated
5.4 million meals each year. Senator Kruger and her
husband are here with us today and have been longtime residents
of New York City’s east side community for over 35 years. Please join me in welcoming
Senator Liz Krueger. [APPLAUSE] LIZ KRUEGER: Good afternoon. I’m so glad I came after
the student speaker because she was truly inspiring. And I had a flashback to
the University of Chicago from 1979 to ’81. Because I too found it to be
mind crushing and crushing of my soul when I got here. [LAUGHTER] I want to thank the
administration, the faculty, and of course, the
students and their families for inviting me to be
here with you today. It is quite an honor. I thought I could
give you a talk on the cost-benefit analysis or
zero sum analysis of something I deal with in the
state budget, but then I remembered you’d all be
much better at that than me. So I thought I would perhaps
talk a little bit about how I got from the Harris
School to where I am today, and why the skills that
I learned with great pain during my years here
have contributed so much to everything that I
have done in my life since. I also want to recognize
past Professor Malcolm Bush, who was a professor here. We weren’t the
Harris School there. We were just the Committee
on Public Policy then, overwhelmed by the economics
and business schools. Everyone was a
conservative then. I suspect, having read the
reviews and the course notes, not everybody is a conservative
now, but they were then. And so Malcolm,
having started here after being my advisor
at Northwestern where I went undergrad just up
the river a little bit, called and said, you
have to come here. One, I need a
couple of liberals. Two, this is all the
things you need to learn. You’re scared of
math and economics, and you won’t self-teach
yourself that. So you need to come here,
where it will be really hard, but you’ll do it. And it will at least
give them a couple of liberals to fight with. So I agreed and I ended up here. So now many years later, I’m
one of 63 state senators. I’ve been a senator, as
you heard, since 2002. I’ve been a liberal
Democrat for much longer. I have approximately
315,000 constituents. And my district runs– if you
know New York City at all– from Union Square to 96th
Street on the east side. As a liberal who spent 20
years doing anti-poverty work, it’s quite the irony that
I represent the wealthiest political district
in the United States, with more than a few
billionaires, many of whom are strongly opinionated and
let me know their opinions. This offers daily
irony because I keep winning a district that
was controlled by Republicans by decade upon decade
before I got involved. My district has every
kind of major facility. I call it Bedpan Alley because
all the world famous hospitals and medical schools are there. It also includes Museum Mile,
with the Metropolitan Art and MoMA, to name just two,
the Empire State Building, the United Nations with
all the consulates, and several Trump Towers, and a
bunch of Trump family members. [LAUGHTER] My constituents
include, in addition to the Trumps, Michael
Bloomberg, several Koch brothers, endless hedge fund
managers, but mostly more regular people. A decent number
of my constituents like to complain that they
vote for me, despite my being too liberal for them. But they say they like I
am honest, I work hard, and I listen even when
they know I will not agree. I like to respond
they are living in the greatest
city in the world and they are extremely wealthy. And fact is, my efforts to
marginally raise their taxes and redistribute a
little of their wealth is actually good for them. So we continue to
have that debate, but they’ve been
voting for me anyway. It’s a true honor to be
asked to speak here today, especially when considering
that in 1979 to ’81, as I said, I was a statistical freak. I was a liberal in a
sea of conservatives. I was only 20 years
old when I entered, a good decade younger than
most of the students then. It’s a much broader
and diverse class now. But then, people would
do a public policy degree when they had already
done most of their PhD in one little break
between their classes and writing their dissertations. Then– maybe it’s
still true at U of C– there were people in the
dorms who were 45 years old. I would say, go out in the
world and do something. What are you still
doing in school? But that was the reputation
of University of Chicago, and maybe still is. I’ve never quite
understood that. And again, as I said, I was a
math and economics phobic. , Once accepted I started in the
summer before classes started because I needed to
take intensive calculus and statistics– pre-computers, people. The professors in these summer
classes barely passed me. And I believe one of them said,
despite your sincere efforts, I fear you’ve only mastered
spelling the word “calculus.” [LAUGHTER] Boy, I should have just
packed it in and run then, but I come from stubborn stock. And we don’t step away from
a challenge in my family. So the two years
of actual classes constantly challenged
and exhausted me. I kept thinking– no disrespect
to all the wonderful faculty here– I kept thinking all these
professors are much smarter, have bigger vocabularies, lots
of letters after their name, but they’re wrong. I just have to learn
to prove my arguments. At that time, Milton Friedman
was a god at this university. And nobody had noticed he had
destroyed major countries’ economies, but he was a god. And I just kept saying, but
it’s not working, people. So then I left the University
of Chicago for the real world. And I said to myself, now I
have to unlearn the things they tried to teach me here. But I was wrong because I
have been using the skills I learned here my entire career. When I graduated U
of C, Ronald Reagan had just become president. He was cutting federal
entitlement programs. But the Midwest was
an economic crisis with cars, the steel industry,
the rubber industry collapsing. My first job was to help
the Cleveland food bank and the National Guard develop
a system to distribute USDA surplus food because Ronald
Reagan was cutting the food stamp program– now SNAP– and there was a
scandal that the USDA was buying all of
the surplus food, putting it in warehouses until
it rotted and throwing it away. So Reagan decided he
would open the warehouses. No one knew what to do with it. And the priest I was working
for at the Cleveland food bank said, you have a smart degree
from the University of Chicago. Figure out how we set up
a six state distribution system for this food. Well, I hadn’t studied
any of that at U of C. But in fact, I got
to work and we did. We set up a system. And the Teamsters
were my truckers and the National Guard
were my soldiers, and we moved food
from the warehouses to hundreds of
emergency food sites throughout the six
Midwestern states, which were suffering from
such a high unemployment rate– about a 25%
unemployment rate at that time. From there, I wanted to
move back to New York City and I was intending to. And there was a
group who was trying to start a food bank
for New York City, but they had not
been successful. So they got me to
try and give it a shot to start the food
bay in the South Bronx. It is now the largest
in the country. And just to correct
a statistic, it now serves over 62 million
meals every year to low income New Yorkers. And there are food banks
throughout the country. In fact, I believe one
of the original ones was here in Chicago. Even though I hated the
fact that U of C made me take accounting
and budgeting, turns out I really
needed that skill to set up the books for
my new not-for-profit to track inventory in
and out the warehouse and to track if I can make
payroll, which I could not all the time in the beginning. I learned what to do with
donations of whole frozen goats and I learned to hotwire
and drive forklift vehicles. I believe I’m still
the only state senator perhaps in the country
who, on the side, can load and unload semi
tractors with a forklift. I haven’t really reviewed, but
I’m the only one in New York. [LAUGHTER] I actually had help starting
the New York City food bank from organized crime. Because the local nuns in
the South Bronx guilt tripped the mob-affiliated carting
companies and truckers into helping me. The nuns would explain,
she’s doing God’s work. You need brownie points. Help her. [LAUGHTER] And they did. And oddly enough, I’m greatly
appreciative of all the work they did for me back then. So a little unusual,
but I’d already dealt with the National Guard,
so then we moved on to the mob. A few years later, I moved into
a policy advocacy organization, working on a range of
anti-poverty programs and efforts, developing and
running model direct service programs, evaluating federal,
state, and city benefit programs, advocating for
government to do better. I spent nearly 20 years
trying to get the government to move in the right direction,
and was also involved in many class action
lawsuits trying to make them follow the law. Lots of numbers
crunching and analysis for being expert
witness in court. Thank you University of
Chicago for teaching me how to do numbers
crunching tech analysis. Because we won many
of those lawsuits. Sidebar. I had actually written
my thesis here. Do you still have
to write a thesis? No? Well, we did then. So I wrote my– [LAUGHTER] I wrote my thesis on how Richard
Nixon’s negative income tax proposal was far superior
to most federal welfare programs implemented before
or after his presidency. Now, we know Richard
Nixon’s role in history, but he actually had some very
progressive policy ideas. His son-in-law is actually
the head of the New York State Republican Party now. And I’ve told him that
his father-in-law, while a flawed human being,
had many excellent ideas. I’ve also told him that
if he was alive today, the Republican
Party would probably tell Richard Nixon
he was a Democrat and throw him out the door. Shift into politics. In March 2000, I was asked
to run for the New York State Senate, which has
been controlled by Republicans since 1939. There was a big push to ride Al
Gore’s coattails into the White House– anybody remember that one? It didn’t work out
exactly that way– and to shift the New York
Senate from red to blue. I had to be drafted
against my will. My district had a 32-year
popular Republican incumbent, and most people just laughed
when I was considering running. Even the Democratic leaders
in my neck of the woods said I was too liberal for
this territory, and to move to the Upper West Side,
Chelsea, or the village. If you’re a New Yorker, you
know what I’m talking about. I made a list of 29 reasons I
should not run for the state Senate and asked them to try to
convince me that I was wrong. They really couldn’t
answer the questions. I hired a polling firm
to do a feasibility poll. And when they did it, they
wanted to revisit my fear of regression analysis–
thank you, U of C– and sit there and explain
to me for three hours all the sub-runs and
what they each meant. I said, I have no time
to research statistics. I was never good at it. If this was a horse race,
what would my odds be? They fought me, but
eventually they said 20%. I said, so I only need 31% more? Not bad. They said, when you
at 20%, you don’t run. I decided to run. The incumbent who would
had the New York Times endorsement every two
years for 32 years outspent me five to one,
and only really about half of my family and friends thought
that somehow I could do this. My husband, John Seley,
is with me here today, and he was always in my corner. On election night, we
tied in the machines and there was a six and 1/2 week
recount of the paper ballots. Ultimately, the day
before Christmas, I was declared the loser by
123 votes out of 127,000 cast. You do the math at what a
small percentage I lost by. But the incumbent
dropped out mid-term. He was told that I would kill
him in the next election, and they wanted to beat me with
the special election mid-term. So they had a special
election and I won. And only after I took my seat
in the New York State Senate did I learned that
they actually had known I was the first time also. Because there had been
four boxes of paper ballots that were stolen
and hidden in the dropped ceiling of
the election office. Nothing was done at that time. Frankly, by the time I learned
it, I was already a senator. There was nothing
that could be done. But it did lead to a pretty
good episode of Law & Order. They had to add a
murder of someone who discovered the election
fraud because they always have a murder. In real life, there
was no murder. We just moved on. But you still can see
the story in reruns because Law & Order will be with
us for the rest of our lives. [LAUGHTER] What I’ve learned
while the senator– which I think is true
for almost anything that really matters in life– stay true to your beliefs. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t think the other
person knows more. There is a bill that
some people have been trying to get
passed in New York state for years that I
keep fighting, which would allow motorcycle riders
to ride without their helmets– because it’s state
option, not federal law. And the motorcycle riders
who usually want this option are the ones who sort
of looked like they’re members of the Hell’s
Angels, even if they’re not– the long hair that
they want to flow in the wind and the
dark leather jackets. And they try to be very
intimidating looking. And they kept
approaching me, trying to get me to change
my mind on the vote. So finally, I sat down with
them and I said, you know, if you will change your
bill with one sentence, I could support your bill. Because my real
concern is that you get into terrible
accidents, you end up with brain damage and
spinal cord injury, and the government
has to pay your health care for the rest of your life. So if you change your bill,
I think I could support it. So they said, what
you want us to change? I said, guarantee
you’ll die on impact. They never came
to lobby me again. [LAUGHTER] Just saying. The cigarette companies
also came to visit. They were concerned about some
anti-smoking and anti-tobacco laws I was carrying. And they came and they sat down. They came from one of
the southern states, where they grow tobacco. New York is not tobacco state. And they just sat
there, and they didn’t start to say anything. And I said, well, usually
when people lobby me, they have something
they want to tell me. What is it you want to tell me? Oh, nothing, Senator. We just want to be
a resource for you and answer your questions. Hmm. Why do you kill
people for a living? Excuse me? You said you want to
answer my questions. Seems to me, as a business
model, killing your clients isn’t very smart. You have to keep
getting new ones. Why don’t you come
up with something to sell that doesn’t kill me? Because, in fact, you’re
very good at marketing. You get people to
buy things they know are going to kill them. Why don’t you just come up with
products that don’t kill us? And they said, well, we
have chewing tobacco too. I said, that kills you also,
just in a different way. They said, anything else? I go, no, I’m done. Do you have anything else? They said, no. I said, bye. Go back. Fly back to the south. Don’t bother me anymore. I faced a lot of challenges on
the floor of the New York State Senate. I’ve been called un-American
for supporting the Constitution. I’m a strong and ardent
fighter for reproductive health for women. And even just this
week, I had a fight and it took me three days
just to get the right to speak on abortion issues
as a hostile amendment on the floor of the Senate. Again, Republican-controlled
Senate just to be a little partisan. Finally, on the third
day, they agreed they were going to let the
procedural process go through. So I started off
by saying that it’s been a couple of days
mansplaining to prevent me from taking the floor, which
only made them look worse. And since New York state was
so behind on its policies, it just continued to
strengthen my argument when they would do things like this. I lost the vote, but I’ll
never give up the fight. After the multiple-day
fight, a few of my colleagues behind
the scenes off the floor chided me for using
the word “mansplain.” They actually didn’t
know what it meant. So I told them to Google it, and
then we could have the fight. So they said they were offended. I said, no. It is I who am
offended, not you. They said it was
unfair for me to imply they were being too tough on
women, since they and I knew that I could take whatever
they hit me with and hit back harder. I agreed. We all laughed. Then I reminded them
that they should really try taking baby steps
into the 21st century, reminding them all that a few
years ago, when I passed a law to protect a woman’s
right to breastfeed, they made me remove the word
“nipple” from the definitions section of the bill. I was like, really, men. You have completely
lost track of time, and place, and reality. And you need to move on and do
something else with your life. A few years ago, I perhaps
had my greatest victory on the floor of the
New York State Senate. Because I ended up
in a Jon Stewart segment with his
making fun of me. And my best friend said,
you might as well just go home and die
now because there’s nothing more you can accomplish
in life than being parodied by Jon Stewart on
The Daily Show. And the storyline
goes like this. The Republicans continue
to put page, after page, after page of ridiculous,
meaningless bills on the floor and no serious,
substantive bills, whether I agreed with them
or didn’t agree with them. And I am known to be the serious
debater for the Democrats. And I went to them
and I said, I’m going to debate every
single one of these bills until you start getting
serious about what we’re supposed to be doing here. And I think there was about 24
bills on the agenda that day. And I could pull off, under
parliamentary procedure, a two hour debate on each. So I said, get
ready, because you know I can stand there forever,
and I can debate a brick wall. So they left. And they came
back, and there was only one bill on the agenda. They said, there’s
only one bill left. We dare you to debate it. And the bill was whether yogurt
should be the official New York state snack. [LAUGHTER] So we debated. I pointed out, did they mean
only New York made yogurt? Did they mean that it was a
snack, but not a breakfast food? Was it no longer
a breakfast food? What about lactose
intolerant people? [LAUGHTER] We were also honoring
Korean American Day that day by coincidence. I said, the
Korean-American community is disproportionately
lactose intolerant. What about them? Well, there’s soy-based yogurt. I said, I’ve tried
soy-based yogurt. It’s disgusting. Have you tried it? That cannot be the
New York State snack. We went on, and on, and on. And picked up by Jon Stewart,
so thank you very much. All that math, accounting,
budgeting, and economics that you see really has come
in handy for the real work I do as well, particularly
on the finance committee. And I am hoping to be the first
democratic chair of the New York State Finance
Committee when we take over, with any luck, next January. I still don’t know how
to balance my checkbook, but my husband tells me I
can only deal with billions, and our personal accounts
don’t have enough zeros. [LAUGHTER] But in order to deal
with the billion– which, New York state’s budget is about
$170 billion per year now– involves critical thinking
and research skills, which are sorely missed by so
many legislators who make up the majority of my colleagues. They didn’t get to go to the
University of Chicago Public Policy school. So we are dependent
on quality staff to help us research
and write legislation. So even if you’re
not sure you would want to go into politics– I heard before some of you do– there are lots of
roles you can play. Of course, you may end
up in a state capital. How many of you have been
to Springfield since you’ve been living here in Chicago? 1, 2– yeah, I did a
little work there too. While Albany, New York not so
different than Springfield, you desperately want to get back
to Chicago or New York City. I understand. And yet, critical work happens
in all 50 state capitals. I think I’m going on
a little too long. So I just want to
close by saying, New York is known as one of the
most dysfunctional legislatures in the country. We have a governor who cares
too much about his own ego, and seems to go out of
his way to hurt New York City because he hates
the mayor there. The heads of both of
our legislative bodies– the Senate and the assembly– have recently been found
guilty of bribery and fraud, and are heading to jail. And they are only the
latest convicted legislators since I took office. And New York looks like a
well-oiled machine compared to Washington right now. And the story is similar
in other state capitals. So a sidebar. The press corps voted
me the least likely to be indicted in Albany. [LAUGHTER] I was wondering whether that
would be good on my tombstone. But in fact, I was really
hoping for more in life than just least
likely to be indicted. But I will tell
you that when you do win in politics,
in government, great things can happen. You can impact in New
York state what happens for 20 million Americans. When the bigger states
all move the same kinds of progressive legislation,
the federal government usually says, damn, I guess
we have to do something now. So you can be impacting
300 million Americans. You can be impacting
their daily lives. You can be impacting their
children, their grandchildren, the environment, the
future of the planet. And you can also stop bad
things from happening, which is underestimated
in public policy. Because pendulums
swing both ways. So you can be a voice and a
participant in accomplishing good, but you can also be
a voice and participant in stopping much
worse from happening. And never underestimate
that as valuable in your future careers. So even when you
lose fights, you win. And if the good guys
stop showing up for work, the bad guys will
just take our places. So I hope that amidst the chaos
and corruption of real world politics, you too can have a
rewarding and meaningful life getting involved with your
public policy degrees, and all your smarts,
and all your goals. When you are reading the
news, I am trying hopefully to make good news. It is not all fun. But coming from the
University of Chicago, you understand
that all too well. I didn’t know that
this school was called Where Fun Comes to Die. I don’t think we had
that line 40 years ago. But when you’re ready to run
for office, give me a call. Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] KATE SHANNON BIDDLE: Thank
you, Senator Krueger. I now call upon Dean Katherine
Baicker and the designated faculty and staff who
are here to assist with the presentation of the– [MICROPHONE MALFUNCTION] Dean Baicker, it is my
honor to present students who have completed program
of studies prescribed to the faculty of the
University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. They have been awarded the
degree of Master of Arts by the Board of Trustees. KATHERINE BAICKER: The trustees
have conferred upon you the degree of Masters of
Arts, and I express the hope that your work will improve our
understanding of public policy. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] KATE SHANNON
BIDDLE: [INAUDIBLE].. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Mescha J Grammer-Ploss. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Aamir Hussain. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Takahiro Ono. [APPLAUSE] Dean Baicker, it is my honor
to present these students who have completed the program
of studies prescribed by the faculty of the
University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. They have been awarded the
degree of Masters of Science by the board of trustees. KATHERINE BAICKER: The trustees
have conferred upon you the degree Masters of Science
and I express the hope that your work will improve our
understanding of public policy. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] KATE SHANNON BIDDLE:
to present these students who have completed the program
of studies prescribed by the faculty of the
University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. They have been
awarded the degree of Masters of Public Policy
by the board of trustees. KATHERINE BAICKER: The trustees
have conferred upon you the degree of Masters
of Public Policy. And I express the
hope that your work will guide public policy towards
the enhancement of public good. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] James Samuel Abbott. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Michael Abrahamson. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Juliana Aguilar Restrepo. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Saeb Abdullah Ahsan. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yuli Almozlino. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Marc Arcas. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Adriana Artola. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Tianyuan Bai. [APPLAUSE] Tyler Daniel Barron. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Daniela Bergmann Soto. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jaspal Singh Bhatia. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Divya Bhatnagar. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Sarah Aine Boyle. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Mayra Alejandro Cabrera. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Andres Celis. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Meghana. Chandra. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yijun Chen. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE[ Sarah Chung. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jack Coghlan. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Charles Herbert Crowther. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Thomas Patrick Curran III. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Himanshu Dave. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Dolores De De Iturbe Verea. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Karla Valerie de la
Fuente Rodriguez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Lucia Delgado Sanchez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Maria Diego-Fernandez Forseck. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yuewen Ding. [APPLAUSE] Anna Shields Draft. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Magaly Duarte Urquhart. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Gerardo Egana. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Uranbileg Enkhtuvshine. [APPLAUSE] Abigail Anne Eskenazi. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Michael Falk. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yuxin Fu. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Samuel Mintzer Fuchs. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Annie Xinyu Gao. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Eduardo Garcia Bejos. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Isidoro Garcia Urquieta. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Gustavo Gil. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Elana Goldstein. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Daniela Melisa Gomez Trevino. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Sunqing Gu. [APPLAUSE] Anne Lauren Gunderson. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Rodrigo Guzman-Sanchez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Max Christopher Hamrick. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yiran Hao. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Beau Frank Harrison. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Binbin He. [APPLAUSE] Zack He Yitao. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Madeline Mary Hinkamp. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yi Hou. [APPLAUSE] Matthew Russell Jacobson. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jihye Jang. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Gracelyn Rita Jennings-Newhouse. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jessica Jiang. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Elena Jimenez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jennifer Joe. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Changwook Ju. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Zeynep Kahveci. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Daniel Martin Krauss. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Soyoung Tiffany Kwak. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jamie Jaekyeong Kwon. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Matthew Bruce LaFond. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Haven Christina Leeming. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Trista Li. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Pedro Liedo Orozco. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Michael Dean Lindemulder. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Lizhong Liu. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Xiaofan Liu. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yuanlong Liu. [APPLAUSE] Alejandra Lopez Rodriguez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yuqing Luo. [APPLAUSE] Andrea Magana. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Sophia Rosa Manuel. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Rene Alexandro Maya Garcia. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Laura Anne McFadden. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Luis Gerardo Mejia Sanchez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Riddhima Mishra. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Kiran Misra. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Sarah Meredith Mixon. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Takuji Miyagi. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Takanori Miyazato. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Christian Matthew Myers. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Muhammad Umer Naeem. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Christine Ursula Nappo. Oops. [APPLAUSE] Gustavo Francisco Novoa. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Guillermo Ortiz Ibarrola. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Bruno Eduardo Osorio Hernandez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Sally Ji-Seon Park. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Lina Rocio Pedraza Pena. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Oliver Manuel Pena Habib. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Rouchen Qiu. [APPLAUSE] Jorge Edgardo Quintero Corral. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Claudia Patricia
Quintero Salleg. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Divyasha Ray. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Flavia Giannnina Sacco Capurro. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Toru Sakurai. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Tania Evelyn Sanchez Hernandez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Joao Andre Sarolli. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Liming Shen. [APPLAUSE] Youssef Shoukry. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Vicky Stavopoulos. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Zihao Su. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Shruthi Subramanyam. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Mohammad Tahboub. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Shinya Takatani. [APPLAUSE] Madeleine Marie Toups. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Maria Paula Valderrama Ruedo. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Steven James Walker. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Manyi Wang. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yunzhi Wang. [APPLAUSE] Jieqiong Wei. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Maura Dettmer Welch. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Wu Bo. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Minyue Wu. [APPLAUSE] Siyu Wu. [APPLAUSE] Xiner Xu. [APPLAUSE] Yosuke Yamashita. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Masayuki Yanagi. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Di Yang. [APPLAUSE] Yuki Yasarani. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Nancy Zamudio-Gomez. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Andong Zhang. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Liang Zhang. [APPLAUSE] Lingfei Zhang. [APPLAUSE] Zhang Shuang. [APPLAUSE] Xinyuan Zhang. [APPLAUSE] Shuhan Zhou. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Xiaoqin Zhu. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Dean Baicker, the students
I now present have attained scholarly distinction
in advanced studies and prepared a dissertation
that contributes to knowledge in a particular
field of research. On behalf of the faculty of the
University of Chicago Harris School of Public
Policy, I have the honor to present the recipients of the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy as confirmed by the
board of trustees. KATHERINE BAICKER: The trustees
have conferred upon you the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy. And I welcome you to this
ancient and honorable company of scholars. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] KATE SHANNON BIDDLE: Bocar Ba. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Nina Gao. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Jennifer Lynn Gandhi. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Yiming Li [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Olga Marcela Namen Leon. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Tong Wang. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] I would now like to introduce
Dean Katherine Baicker to make closing remarks. [APPLAUSE] KATHERINE BAICKER: Class
of 2018 Harris graduates, congratulations. Well done. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Today is not just a
day of celebration. It’s a time to look
forward to the amazing work that you’re going to
do and the challenges that you’re going to face. It’s a time for reflection on
all that you’ve accomplished and a time to be grateful
for all of the people who have helped you– parents, siblings, grandparents,
spouses, friends, neighbors, delivery people. They all deserve around
of applause as well. [APPLAUSE] Today is a special day, as
we welcome your new class of Harris alumni to our family. It’s an exceptional
community of alumni. You’ve heard from
our future alumna, from our distinguished alumna. And there are some
common threads that are really heartwarming
to hear from the fact that despite the fact the
statistics is very challenging, it comes in handy, to
the fact that you’ll have to rely on the deep well
of passion that brought you here to get you through
the challenges that you’re going to
face as you go out and try to make the
world a better place. You are leading the
way for public policy in a world that depends
on rigorous inquiry on evidence-based approaches on
wrestling with difficult issues to really make a difference. And that’s the Harris way. In my first year as dean, I’ve
been struck by the university’s devotion to those principles. Our approach and our
values really set us apart, and that’s why you
came to Harris. You came to Harris because
you shared our dedication to that approach. Because we all
believe that the tool kit that you have worked
so hard to acquire is vitally needed to
make better policy and to make better lives
for people around the world. No matter what challenge
you face, whether you go on to become a minister of
finance, a community organizer, lead a nonprofit, or
start a social enterprise, the core values and the core
mission that we all share– the commitment to
inquiry, to evidence, to bringing truth to bear on
difficult questions– that will continue to serve you well. This year, I’ve been struck not
only by that shared dedication, but also by the energy and
vibrancy of our students. You embody the best
of Harris and you give me hope that despite the
challenging world that I know you’re going into,
you’re going to be able to make that difference
that we are all relying on. Yours has not been
an easy journey. You’ve been challenged by
your classes, your faculty, and your classmates. And I commend you on rising
to meet that challenge. It’s now up to you
to make the most of all of that hard work
all of that dedication– the most of your
Harris is education. And we have very high
expectations, young people. And we expect you to meet them. It may seem like these are
particularly challenging times for leaders
and scholars who are dedicated to
evidence-based policy making, to analytical
approaches, but your work has never been more important. The world may be
more complicated it may be harder
to find solutions, but we have much better
tools than we’ve ever had in the past– new methods, new approaches,
innovative policies that you’ve learned about
here and that you’ve come up with on your own. And it’s that innovation that’s
going to drive us forward. The skills you’ve acquired
and the dedication you bring to your work
have clearly well-equipped you to meet those challenges. As you reflect back
on your time here from your first
day at math camp, when you probably
asked yourself, what exactly have I
gotten myself into, and is it too late to go home? And the answer,
yes, it is too late. You’re here now. To the hours spent on
daunting problem sets, you can be confident that
Harris has prepared you for the world that needs you. And don’t worry. When you open up
your diploma, there’s not a sneaky problem
set hidden in the back. You are all done with
your Harris problem sets. So congratulations to
all of you on all that you’ve accomplished already
and to the bright future that lies in front of you. You did it. You are Harris alumni. You’re alumni of the
University of Chicago. As you embark on this
new phase of your life, remember what you learned here,
remember the connections you made to your classmates– to
the community of scholars that you’ve joined– and the commitment you
developed to bringing that rigorous evidence-based
approach to all of the problems that you’re going to encounter
in an evolving world. You’re the future
of public policy, and you have the power
to change the world. We couldn’t be more proud
to call you Harris alumni. Congratulations. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] KATE SHANNON BIDDLE: This
concludes the official part of the ceremonies. Please remain seated until all
of the graduates and faculty party formally process
out of the theater. Afterwards, I invite
you to join us for a reception in the
courtyard just outside. I hope you will stay with us
to enjoy this special day. Again, thank you very much. And especially, congratulations

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