Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Topics: Campus Life

Gupta to Graduates: “Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You”

By umcadmin

On April 28, self-described “true-blue Wolverine” Dr. Sanjay Gupta celebrated spring commencement with the Class of 2012. An accomplished neurosurgeon, humanitarian, and CNN medical correspondent, Gupta received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from U-M (in 1990 and 1993, respectively). He now holds an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, presented during the 2012 commencement ceremony.

“It’s a Michigan tradition to take risks and, in the process, blaze new trails,” Gupta told the enthusiastic crowd. “It’s a Michigan tradition to always read the directions, but not always to follow them. It’s to always prepare but sometimes throw that preparation in the trash and allow yourself to be surprised, honest, and genuine. It’s a Michigan tradition to make history and change the world—to be immortal, not as in living forever but in never being forgotten.”

“When summarizing your life,” Gupta said, “you should be able to write this sentence: ‘I am who I always wanted to be.’”

Who spoke at your commencement? Did any words of wisdom stay with you throughout the years? Let us know.


  • Betty Anne Gruschow Stone - 1954 June

    Ours was the non-graduation. We were lined up to enter the stadium when it really began to rain. All of the black dye in our graduation robes soaked into the clothes we were wearing underneath, turning everything purple right down to our underwear! We were wet, disheveled and not given our diplomas in any formal fashion. They were handed out, but I don’t remember how it was done at the time. We never heard the speaker and I don’t recall who it was. No ceremony, no music, no speakers but a very memorable graduation!


  • Dorothy Rose - 1974 U. of Md. 1951

    I graduated at age 44, my daughter at age 21 on same day that the president spoke.(a well kept surprise) We all had to be “wanded” in a long black tent.(VERY Hot) It was HOT outside and some did not have many?clothes on under the heavy black robes we were required to rent plus the hoods of our former “BS” university. Mine was one no one had ever seen. We all will never forget it with our family from all over this country. visiting AA2 with NO place to park legally.


  • Adam Rubinstein - 1985

    Take the twenty minutes and watch and listen to Sanjay. His speech is a bit sanctimonious (what commencement speech isn’t?) but it’s definitely worthwhile.


  • Sue Poppink - 1983

    I loved this. Is there a print copy available?


  • Larry Shaheen

    My class had the worst graduation speaker of all time. Don’t even remember her name, she was the French Minister of Women’s affairs!


  • Tom Tjaarda - 1958

    I graduated in 1958 and two weeks later was working in Torino, Italy as a designer. All my friends told me that I was taking a big risk and what courage I must have to engage in such an adventure. But I never saw it this way – rather it was following my passion for design and architecture. At that time Torino was the epicenter of design in the world. Today, mayors from all over the world come to Torino to see how they were able to renovate their city. Six years of total investment to create an instution of city planning. This years speeker at the graduation emphasized courage in personal action. I always found this to be true even back in the summer of 1958 when I followed my instinct and came to live and raise a family in Italy. Today when I sometimes have the chance to visit the University of Michigan campus I always have the impression that it is a very special place.


  • Julie Selbst - 1982, 1985

    Governor William MIlliken addressed the Class of 1982. I can’t recall a word he said. Senator Carl Levin addressed the law school Class of 1985. His topic was the Arms Race. He said, in essence, “The world is yours. See to it that it doesn’t blow up in the next few years.” It was very “Cold War.”