The first student to give a speech at Wellesley College’s commencement ceremonies was Hillary Clinton in 1969, at another time of turmoil in U.S. politics. Hillary Rodham, as she then was known, majored in political science and graduated with high honors. She was president of the College Government Association — and, from 1966 to 1967, the head of the Young Republicans Club.
On Monday, Wellesley released audio excerpts of the speech, just as Clinton is on the cusp of clinching the Democratic nomination for president.
Her remarks evoke some of the questions and demands on campuses across the country this year, as students pushed administrators with protests over race and other social issues.
And it hints at the candidate she has become.
“Part of the problem with just empathy with professed goals is that empathy doesn’t do us anything,” she said.
“We’ve had lots of empathy; we’ve had lots of sympathy, but we feel that for too long our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible.
“And the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.”
She said they arrived on campus as freshmen with the question of possibility.