Stephanie Wei Wang wishes her maternal grandmother in China could have shared the joy as she marched down the aisle to receive S.B.s in economics and brain and cognitive sciences. Wang has been thinking about Laolao a lot lately.
"She helped me up that little hill which seemed so big on the way to school. She sat with me after dinner in a dim bedroom and introduced me to numbers. She was there for all the important moments in the first nine years of my life, yet she could not be at Commencement to see me thank her by walking across the stage," Wang said.
"My grandmother, who has lived through a world war, a civil war, the Cultural Revolution and her husband's long battle with cancer, is an unflagging pillar of strength and love. Her commitment to hard work, her devotion to family, and her dedication to caring for others as a nurse who would work on holidays and a grandmother who never expected anything in return will always be my guidepost in life.
"Despite her immense intelligence and aspirations to study medicine, she was thwarted by circumstance and never received a college degree. My degrees are her honorary degrees for nurturing, strength, sacrifice and wisdom," Wang said.
S. Julie-Ann Lloyd will never forget the care packages, devotion and unwavering support her parents provided during her MIT career. Lloyd, who received the S.B. in chemistry, requested an opportunity to thank them publicly.
"My first semester marked a difficult transition from Jamaica's high school education system to this prestigious institution of higher learning. My parents' guidance greatly assisted me in making the change. Their continuous encouragement helped me to maintain focus on my studies and to further explore my interests," Lloyd said.
"I would like them to know that I have always appreciated all their sacrifices and support. I am very excited that we could all share this most recent accomplishment--the completion of my undergraduate studies."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 12, 2003.