Harvey Mudd Confers Degrees at Commencement 2022

Harvey Mudd College conferred bachelor of science degrees upon 214 students at its 64th commencement ceremony, May 15, 2022, in Claremont, California.

World-renowned mathematician Terence Tao gave the keynote address. Tao holds the James and Carol Collins Chair in mathematics at University of California Los Angeles. He is leading researcher in the areas of harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, combinatorics and number theory. In 2006, Tao won the Fields Medal, generally considered the Nobel Prize in mathematics.

“Some of you might be worried that you won’t make enough of a difference in the world,” Tao told the graduates. “There are so many huge challenges facing the world: war, pandemics, climate change, inequality. No one person can hope to solve any of these problems on their own, and the work that we do may seem trivial by comparison. But collectively, all the things we do to make the world a better place add up,” Tao said.

Terence Tao

Mathematician Terence Tao gave the keynote address

“If you want to grow and develop as a human being, you have to get out of your comfort zone sometimes and try things that you don’t fully know how to do,” Tao continued. “Nobody can get experience at a skill without trying it for the first time. And honestly, doing something imperfectly, but knowing that you can get better with practice, is a much more empowering feeling than being terrified of ever doing something because you don’t know if you’ll be perfect at it,” said Tao.

Graduating seniors Nico Espinosa Dice and Tona Gonzalez gave the student keynote address, having written it, they told their classmates, in the same way they worked on assignments during their four years at Harvey Mudd: using collaboration.

“Together, we reflect back on the last four years,” Dice began. “We see many incredible memories: sing-a-long, frosh prank day, finishing Core parties. We see many successes too: theses written, Clinic projects completed, job offers and graduate school acceptances. And today, we see smiles, sadness and tears as we turn the pages of this chapter. This is Mudd: the joys and the successes.

“But if we look closer at the last four years, we see the wrinkles, too. The stress of exams, the loneliness of the pandemic, the contortions of our time management around ever-increasing obligations. This, too, is Mudd: the hardships and the failures,” Dice said.

students at podium

Tona Gonzalez (left) and Nico Espinosa Dice gave the student keynote speech collaboratively

“We as Mudders may define success in terms of the peaks, but between every peak lies a valley,” Gonzalez continued. “And in a school as hard as Mudd, the peaks are few and far between. The hard trudge through the valley can be lonely. But fortunately, we don’t go through it alone. And it’s this fact—that at Mudd we go through the valleys together—that makes us cherish this place.

“Everything we did over the last four years, we did together. With an N+1 mentality, we added friends to the lunch table, classmates to the circle surrounding the AE tutor and teammates to the inner tube-filled pool. We built a community at Mudd,” Gonzalez said.

Dee West ’65 P92/93 and president of the Alumni Association from 2019–2021 welcomed the graduates into the HMC Alumni Association and said, “Congratulations on your graduation and transition from students to alumni. While you were at HMC, your knowledge grew tremendously, and you acquired a strong and broad technical toolkit. You also developed very important skills that you may not yet realize that you have.”

President Maria Klawe was the final speaker of the day.

“I know that whatever you do and wherever you go, you will make a difference,” said Klawe. “Your commitment to community, collaboration and helping others will make every team you join do better. Your curiosity and love of learning will drive your lifelong growth in knowledge and skills. Your dedication to equity and inclusion will help diversify the organizations you join. You will pay attention to the impact of your work on society and help others pay attention too. Given the increasing impact of technology in every aspect of society, the world needs graduates like you more than ever before.”

According to preliminary data, 71% of the Class of 2022 is headed into the workforce; the most frequently mentioned employers are Meta, Microsoft, Google, Caltech, Heliogen, Plaid, ServiceNow, SpaceX and Stripe. Eighty-four percent of those who expect to be employed in the fall have already secured a position, and of those who have secured positions, 50% indicate they are working in technology/software.

Twenty-one percent of graduates in the Class of 2022 have been accepted and expect to be enrolled in graduate programs, with the most common institutions being Cornell, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego.

The remaining members of the Class of 2022 have various plans, including volunteering, studying on a Watson Fellowship, participating in internships and traveling.

Read Terence Tao’s commencement address.

View the 2022 Commencement ceremony.