Harvey Mudd College graduated the largest class in the College’s history at its 61st commencement ceremony on May 19, 2019. A total of 210 students earned the bachelor of science degree.
The College continued its success in graduating high percentages of women in the three STEM fields where nationally women are still underrepresented: 49% of computer science majors, 43% of engineering majors and 43% of physics majors were women. Of total graduates, 46% were women.
Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, CEO of Kitty Hawk and developer of the self-driving car Stanley, gave the commencement address.
“Class of 2019, you are not done learning,” Thrun said. “There are lessons you cannot learn in college. First and foremost, stay curious. Keep an open mind. Most of us are wired to think inside the box. If self-driving cars didn’t exist yesterday, how can they possibly exist tomorrow? With that simple logic we would not have electricity, telephones or space travel.”
“Instead, try to think from first principles whenever you can,” Thrun continued. “All great innovators from Thomas Edison to Larry Page never took no for an answer. All great innovators did not submit to the popular belief at the time. Believe in yourself, believe in your team, believe in your boss if you have one. And finally, don’t waiver. Stand firm. Way too often people give up when the going gets tough. The world needs people who don’t give up.”
Graduating senior Jatin Abacousnac gave the student keynote address.
“It is essential that today we celebrate our failures and successes in equal measure,” Abacousnac said. “Fortunately for us, Mudd puts us to test, and I think it’s fair to say that most of us, probably all of us, know what it means to fail in different ways. So, getting back on our feet is no biggie, because we do not fear failure. And that’s a proper education. These failures, these challenges, we faced them together…we made it through Mudd, we can make it through anything.”
David Sonner ’80 P18 welcomed the graduates into the HMC Alumni Association.
“Like earlier alumni, during your time at Mudd you worked together on many difficult problems and in the process, you learned many things that you will need in your future careers,” Sonner said. “But looking back on your lives, probably what you’ll value the most are the close friendships forged during your shared Mudd experiences together.”
President Maria Klawe concluded the ceremony.
“We are incredibly proud of all of you,” Klawe said. “We know how much you’ve grown during your time at Mudd and are excited to see what you’ll do in the next phase of your life. We know that wherever you go, you will take your commitment to excellence, integrity, equity and inclusion, and helping others succeed. You will pay attention to the impact of your work on society and use your outstanding skills in communication and critical thinking to help others pay attention, too. Given the increasing impact of technology in every aspect of society, the world needs graduates like those from Harvey Mudd more than it has ever needed them before.”
According to preliminary data, 66% of the Class of 2019 is headed into the workforce; the most frequently mentioned employers are Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Epic Systems. Graduates have accepted a wide variety of positions including software engineer, software developer, spacecraft systems test engineer, math teacher, mechanical engineer, native app developer, quantitative analyst and systems engineer.
This fall, 22% percent of graduates expect to start graduate school, pursuing a variety of fields including aeronautics engineering, chemistry, computer science, education, electrical engineering, math, microbiology, operations research, physics and robotics. Graduates will be attending MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, CalTech and Cornell, among others.
The remaining members of the Class of 2019 have various plans including entrepreneurship and teaching abroad.
View the 2019 Commencement ceremony