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Humorist Mo Rocca Addresses Sarah Lawrence College Graduates

Members of Sarah Lawrence College’s class of 2016 listen to commencement speakers.
Members of Sarah Lawrence College’s class of 2016 listen to commencement speakers. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Members of Sarah Lawrence College’s class of 2016 smile during commencement ceremonies.
Members of Sarah Lawrence College’s class of 2016 smile during commencement ceremonies. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Toya Singh, left, a graduating student, addresses members of the Sarah Lawrence College Class of 2016. Looking on is fellow graduate Kurt Santana. Singh and Santana are co-presidents of the senior class.
Toya Singh, left, a graduating student, addresses members of the Sarah Lawrence College Class of 2016. Looking on is fellow graduate Kurt Santana. Singh and Santana are co-presidents of the senior class. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College.
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College.
Mo Rocca, commencement speaker, addresses the graduating class of 2016 at Sarah Lawrence College. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson
Karen R. Lawrence, president of Sarah Lawrence College, confers degrees to graduating students.
Karen R. Lawrence, president of Sarah Lawrence College, confers degrees to graduating students. Photo Credit: Dana Maxson

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Sarah Lawrence College celebrated its 88th commencement exercises for nearly 400 graduates on Thursday and Friday.

Mo Rocca, humorist, journalist, actor and writer delivered the commencement address to an audience of undergraduates and their families; remarks to master’s degree candidates were delivered by Joan H. Marks, who led the college’s human genetics graduate program for 25 years.

Rocca, a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and other news and entertainment broadcasts referenced his own trajectory from college graduate to popular media personality, advising the graduates that though they might be feeling pressure, they’ve got time to find their passions. His advice included, “Be careful about calculating. … If you don’t know exactly what you want, count yourself lucky. Your life will unfold like the best kind of story.”

Rocca knows something about stories. The cornerstone of his project on the Cooking Channel, “My Grandmother’s Ravioli,” where he cooks with grandparents around the country, is about discovering their stories. He dished out a medley of advice, including: “Everyone I know who has given up a high-paying job for something they care about has never regretted it." And “Beware of the feedback loop of social media. Yes, it’s an audience, and the promise of instantaneous reaction can be tempting. But there’s so much to be said for keeping things to yourself, incubating and protecting them, rather than putting something out there that’s not ready to be put out there. Who you are, your voice, is not something to be crowdsourced.”

Addressing graduates of the college’s nine master's degree programs, Marks said, “Whether you are commencing to be a genetic counselor, a health advocate, a dancer, an actor, writer, teacher, historian, a therapist, or social worker, one thing every student at Sarah Lawrence has in common is the knowledge that what you learned here will enable you to go out and make the difference you want to make in the world.”

A special performance by cast members from "The Color Purple" honored Sarah Lawrence alumna Alice Walker, ‘65. For more information, visit this link.

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