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Arianna Huffington Delivers Vassar Commencement Speech, Urges Grads to Try “Digital Detox”


Amidst the raindrops, 611 graduates received their degrees at Vassar College’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 31. Founded in 1861, this was Vassar’s 151st graduation.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, delivered the commencement address, focusing on powering down our smartphones and tuning into ourselves.

“As someone who runs a 24/7 digital media company and who uses every form of social media ever invented, I hope I have some street cred when I urge you to build boundaries, introduce digital detoxes into your life, and learn to regularly disconnect from the jumble and the cacophony and make time to reconnect with yourself.”

Ms. Huffington touched on how our LinkedIn profiles or Power Point presentations won’t be remembered, but rather, “our eulogies are always about the other stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh. So why do we spend so much of our lives chasing things we don’t value and that don’t ultimately matter?”

She closed with this: “As you leave this magical campus, don’t let technology wrap you up in a perpetually harried existence. Don’t be so connected to everybody that you’re not truly connected to anybody. Or to yourself. And don’t get so caught up in your busy life that life’s mystery passes you by,” resulting in a huge round of applause from Vassar’s newest alumni as well as the rest of the audience.

From Vassar’s 2015 graduating class, forty-eight students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa for overall academic achievement. The college’s Phi Beta Kappa Prize for 2015 was awarded to Zoe Miranda Adams. Members of the graduating class have also been selected for various outside honors, including the Fulbright Teaching Award, the U.S Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, and the Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Read the full transcript of Huffington’s Vassar College commencement ceremony speech here.
Find more images of the commencement ceremony here.

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