California Today: Advice for Graduates
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Be yourself, dream big, ignore the doubters.
University commencement speakers in 2017 offered advice that we are used to hearing this time of year.
Going into graduation season, it was uncertain whether they would also wade into the topic on many people’s minds: the country’s deepening political division.
Some did, a few stridently so. But for the most part, speakers kept it about the students.
Here are memorable moments from addresses at California campuses or by Californians.
Kamala Harris, senator from California, Howard University
“Graduates, indeed we have a fight ahead. And it’s not a fight between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not rich versus poor or urban versus rural. This is a fight to define what kind of country we are. It’s a fight to determine what kind of country we will be. And it’s a fight to determine whether we are willing to stand up for our deepest values. Because let’s be clear — we are better than this.”
Kenya Barris, creator of ABC’s “black-ish,” Tufts University
“You have a uniquely proprietary burden of actually being the first graduating class to truly make America great again. I can’t honestly think of a time since the Vietnam War that a graduating class has had more on its shoulders than you all.”
The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leader, University of California, San Diego
“You have the opportunity and also responsibility to create a better world, a happier world — no longer violence, no longer this huge gap between rich and poor. You can do that. We elder people may not see that kind of world. But you can see it and you can enjoy.”
Samuel Rodriguez, evangelical preacher, Biola University
“There is no such thing as comfortable Christianity. We are what we tolerate. Moral stagnation always leads to spiritual apathy. And truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of political, cultural or sexual expediency.”
Will Ferrell, comedian, University of Southern California
“You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. I was afraid to write this speech. And now, I’m just realizing how many people are watching me right now, and it’s scary. Can you please look away while I deliver the rest of the speech? But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of ‘what if.’ What if I never tried at all?”
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, Virginia Tech
“As you leave this beautiful campus and set out into the world, build resilience in yourselves. When tragedy or disappointment strike, know that deep inside you, you have the ability to get through anything. I promise you do. As the saying goes, we are more vulnerable than we ever thought, but we are stronger than we ever imagined.”
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• Senate Republicans’ health bill would be “devastating” for Californians, a policy expert said. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• “Single-payer health care for California is, in fact, very doable.” [Opinion | Los Angeles Times]
• “I think I’m worth the trouble,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is facing pressure to give up her 15-year grip on power. [The New York Times]
• California banned state travel to Texas and other states over laws deemed discriminatory. It drew a mocking response. [The Texas Tribune]
• California has so much solar power that it sometimes pays other states to take it. [Los Angeles Times]
• Lonzo Ball goes to the Lakers; De’Aaron Fox goes to the Kings — an N.B.A. draft analysis. [The New York Times]
• “No one is going to assume the big football player is gay,” said the former football player Ryan O’Callaghan. [Outsports]
• Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is now the highest-paid player in N.F.L. History — $125 million over five years. [ESPN]
• Uber is facing a backlash over Travis Kalanick’s departure — particularly from employees. [The New York Times]
• Life’s too short to drink bad rosé. Here are 20 picks, each under $20. [The New York Times]
• A Huntington Beach man has visited Disneyland for 2,000 straight days. [Orange County Register]
• Netflix’s “GLOW,” remixes 1980s neon, spandex and hair spray into something thrilling. [The New York Times]
To liven up a town, what better than abstract, elephant-sized metal sculptures?
That’s the idea officials have embraced in Sonoma, where nine works by the sculptor Albert Paley were erected downtown this week.
The temporary installation was curated by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, which is also presenting an indoor show of Paley works that opens July 1.
Mr. Paley, who started out as a jeweler, is known for exquisite craftsmanship.
For the Sonoma project, titled “Thresholds,” five sculptures were placed in the central grass-filled plaza and the rest on surrounding blocks. One of them, “Languorous Repose,” is a 15-foot tall medley of ribbon shapes that bend so smoothly they seem as much like satin as steel.
Reached at his Rochester, N.Y., studio, Mr. Paley said outdoor art personalizes communities.
“Because of the uniqueness of artwork, it creates a sense of place, and a sense of memory,” he said. “Normally if you walk down the street, it’s a very ubiquitous experience.”
The Sonoma exhibit ends Oct. 1, which has already inspired feelings of foreboding: What if residents don’t want to give up the sculptures?
Mr. Paley said he’s not against the idea.
“All of this work came from my studio, so it was just in my storage area,” he said. “Having it out in the public where people can experience it and engage in it, that’s a good situation.”
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.