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SNU’s 72nd Summer Commencement: Professor Kim’s Words of Timeless Wisdom

  • September 3, 2018
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Professor Kim Ho-dong is giving the commencement speech
Professor Kim Ho-dong is giving the commencement speech

On August 29, SNU held its 72nd summer commencement for approximately 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students at the Gwanak Campus Gymnasium. Distinguished Professor Kim Hodong (Department of Asian History) gave the congratulatory speech on behalf of the faculty. While Professor Kim humbly doubted his own ability to address a generation that is facing change on an unprecedented pace and scale, his words expressed a wisdom that is timeless, highlighting indelible values and the rewards of the human endeavor.

Professor Kim spoke of the importance of remaining grounded while in the pursuit of greatness. Referencing Hawthorne’s The Great Stone Face, he said that while there is a greatness inherent in us all, it is only attainable once we understand and accept our unique journeys and obstacles. Professor Kim said that in our individual pursuits, “we can always dream big, but we must start small and deal with the task immediately at hand.”

Professor Kim said that one of the greatest rewards of the individual pursuit is mastery, which in turn benefits society. Professor Kim encouraged the graduating class to devote their talents and efforts for the betterment of not only themselves but also society, saying that one day they could become the “great stone faces”—human monuments of greatness—of their generation.

Professor Kim ended his speech citing the Bible, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” offering final words of inspiration and solace to a class entering the next stage of their lives.

Written by Jeeye Hong, SNU English Editor, hongjeeye16@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr

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