Stanford University’s 130th Commencement weekend, June 12-13, 2021, occurred in two parts. Saturday’s Advanced Degree Commencement Ceremony featured a speech by physician and author Atul Gawande and Sunday’s Senior Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony featured actor, writer and producer Issa Rae. Gawande spoke about the fantastical unpredictability of post-commencement life and advised the graduates to embrace whatever opportunities came their way. “In your formative years, you don’t know – you can’t know – what will ultimately matter to you; what will grab you by the shoulders and awaken you and stay with you,” said Gawande. “So you have to be open to trying stuff – to saying yes.” Rae reminisced about her own Stanford graduation and time on the Farm and described how friends, classmates and administrators had supported her creative journey. “Build and tap into your community,” she advised the graduates.

Reflecting on the pandemic and the response to racial injustice in the last year, University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said how proud he was of the graduates and that he hoped this year helped clarify what was truly important to them. “You have gained the knowledge and the skills to pursue a life that conforms with your values,” said Tessier-Lavigne at Saturday’s event. “The strength and tenacity that have brought you through the last year will help you in that pursuit.”

Go to the web site to view the video.

Video by Kurt Hickman

On Sunday, Stanford University conferred 1,436 bachelor’s degrees to students representing 57 countries. The Commencement address to the Senior Class of 2021 was delivered by writer, actor and producer Issa Rae, ’07.

Go to the web site to view the video.

Video by Farrin Abbott and Kurt Hickman

On Saturday, University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne conferred 2,171 master’s degrees and 1,103 doctoral degrees at the Commencement ceremony for advanced degree recipients, which featured an address by surgeon, writer and public health leader Dr. Atul Gawande, ’87.

Full-length videos of the 2021 Commencement ceremonies are available on the Stanford YouTube channel: