The Harvard College Mission of Discovery
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The Harvard College Mission of Discovery

think what Harvard is really skilled at is
bringing people together. CAT ZHANG: I have definitely
learned a lot about how to be a person in the world. There is like this infinite
sense of possibility. MADELEINE LAPUERTA: Being
surrounded by all these people that are pushing
themselves inspires me to then push myself. STUDENT: One, two, three! TEAM: RVL! BRAEDEN FOLDENAUER:
Pretty much everybody I know is pursuing what they’re
pursuing because they desire to have an impact. ELSIE M. SUNDERLAND: They’re
on this mission of discovery of really their
own passion and how to be an engaged
citizen in society. LINDEY KNEIB: When you’re
here, you’re here for a reason. Just hold on for the
ride, because it’s fun and wild and crazy. [CHEERING] ROBERT REID-PHARR: Can you
read that last sentence for us? STUDENT: Yeah. “No one, I read somewhere
a long time ago, makes his escape
personality black.” ROBERT REID-PHARR:
That’s amazing. I mean, that’s a
stunning sentence. STUDENT: Yeah. ROBERT REID-PHARR: Can
I ask you, is that true? Hold on one second. Is that true? STUDENT: I think it is. ROBERT REID-PHARR: Why? CLAUDINE GAY:
What’s so wonderful about a liberal
arts education is that it’s powered by
a commitment to truth. LAWRENCE S. BACOW:
Truth is something which needs to be discovered. It needs to be uncovered. STUDENT: You want it
to be true, so you’re willing to suspend your belief. ROBERT REID-PHARR: Everybody
is on board with this– that she’s right about this. What do you think? RAKESH KHURANA: We
really hope that students learn to have an
inquiring mind, to always be asking questions and
actually question authority. STUDENT: It’s useful
in relation to some of the things that have been
missing from the other texts that we’ve read. ROBERT REID-PHARR: What’s been
missing from the other texts that we’ve read? STUDENT: [LAUGHS] A lot of has been missing
from the texts that we– [LAUGHS] –that we’ve read. ROBERT REID-PHARR: You’re
in the classroom learning from students in ways
that’s just shocking. It’s just shocking. Because they’re
asking questions that are so practical
and so concerned with how it is that they’re
going to take charge. CAT ZHANG: I went to a
large public high school. My graduating class was I
think the largest in America. And so I wanted to be part
of a concentration that was more intimate but
also offered a lot of room for skepticism. BRAEDEN FOLDENAUER: My
favorite class so far was taking my freshman seminar. You know, we would do
a bunch of readings. And we’d talk about some
kind of free speech topic. And then we would show
up to class every week. And we would just
argue with each other. I craved that challenge. And I think that it was
also really valuable, because it forced me to step
outside my comfort zone. JU YON KIM: One great thing
about the liberal arts is that it really kind of
opens the world in new ways. They want the students to begin
questioning certain assumptions that they might have. [BLOW HORN SOUND] ERIC HELLER: If you can
figure out why that happens, you’ll beat me by about a
year after I first saw this. JULIUS WADE: One
thing that I cherish about Harvard is that
every person I’ve met is like curious in some
way about themselves or about the world
or about each other. CAT ZHANG: I just found
people like really interesting and funny and unique
in their own way. And I think it
made me feel like I didn’t have to be the person
that I was in high school. MADELEINE LAPUERTA: You
know, three years ago, would I imagine myself
studying computer science? Probably not. And so I think just the way
that Harvard has kind of shaped me says a lot about
how this environment promotes growth. JULIUS WADE: All of
that does nothing to band-aid the
simple fact that there comes a time when the world
stops rewarding potential. STUDENT: I think the
first way you read it was like the other way around. JULIUS WADE: Yeah. I came here without
a clue about what I wanted to do, no idea
that I wanted to do theater. And I just did it. That made me very proud. But also, it was like
really terrifying. STUDENT: So it’s– oh yeah,
so it’s like the first one counterclockwise. [VOCALIZING] Yeah. BRAEDEN FOLDENAUER:
Coming to Harvard was terrifying, especially
being the first my family to go to college and stuff. I was definitely in
uncharted territory. JULIUS WADE: The fear that
I think a lot of people that I felt coming
in, it’s like a fear that you’re the only
one that feels that way. And when you discover
that like, well, that person feels that
way too, and that person, and this person, this
like whole club of people, there’s a strange solace. (SINGING) RAKESH KHURANA: We recognize
that talent is everywhere. There’s nobody here who
doesn’t deserve to be here. BRAEDEN FOLDENAUER: When
I was applying to college, cost was really crucial for me. One of the things that I
discovered when applying is just how generous
Harvard’s financial aid is. JULIUS WADE: The
thing that I tell people who have insecurities
about their backgrounds and stuff, was that none
of that stuff matters. The only thing
that really matters is like who you are and the kind
of person that you want to be. (SINGING) [VOCALIZING]
My kind of love. STUDENT: Hey, nice run through. [LAUGHTER] STUDENTS: One, two, three! (SINGING) OH LEV, OH
the place to feel alive. JULIUS WADE: Aah! LINDEY KNEIB: (SINGING) I’m so
excited for Harvard and Yale. FOOTBALL PLAYERS:
There is no one way to characterize
the community here, because there are
so many communities. STUDENT: Yo, Siva, can we get
some real South-Asian music? [CHEERING] CLAUDINE GAY: What’s
common to all of them is how incredibly
vibrant they are. LINDEY KNEIB: I love working
with the Special Olympics. Coming here, I feel that
I’ve received so much. It’s just that sense
of giving back. STUDENT: Let’s do
some fractions. MADELEINE LAPUERTA: Being
a woman in computer science is actually pretty awesome. You’re setting a huge
example for girls that they can do this,
because you’re doing this. ELSIE M. SUNDERLAND: It’s
very important for young women to be able to identify
women who are in positions that they might
aspire to someday. LAWRENCE S. BACOW: When
we recruit great faculty, we offer them the opportunity
to work with great students. When we recruit
great students, we offer them the opportunity
to work with great faculty. They love each other. DUSTIN TINGLEY:
I came to Harvard to be in an environment that
emphasized the liberal arts but also was a major
research institution. I get so excited when
I work with a student all the way up to
a point where it becomes really
clear I need to be co-authoring with this person. JU YON KIM: And they’re
actually doing what we’re doing. And by the time
they get to the end of their project,
what they have is a real intellectual
contribution. CLAUDINE GAY: We tend
to attract students who already see themselves as
agents of change in the world. STAFF SERGEANT:
Good afternoon, sir. SECOND LIEUTENANT: Good
afternoon, staff sergeant. ROBERT REID-PHARR: You have to
rethink how you are actually helping to educate them for
what it is that they want and what it is that
we need as a culture. BRAEDEN FOLDENAUER: We’ve
got our different goals in different parts of the world. And we can all take
what we have experienced and bring those back to
our home communities. MADELEINE LAPUERTA:
You’re learning so much from the people around you. It’s an environment of
always being able to learn and from that always
being able to grow. LINDEY KNEIB: My biggest
accomplishment here is I finally figured
out who I was. JULIUS WADE:
Harvard cares deeply about who we are as
people and the capacity that we have as human beings to
affect a new and better world. CAT ZHANG: I feel
like my life coheres more, that I have like a very
clear purpose and mission, in a way that wasn’t apparent
to me when I was in high school. RAKESH KHURANA: One of the most
gratifying things in my life is to be able to be around
these amazing young people, who are idealistic, who have
a strong sense of urgency of making a difference
in the world. Every day, my heart is
renewed with a sense of possibility and hope. Because each day,
in my job, I get to look into the
eyes of the future.

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