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MIT Technology Review

Historic commencements

April 15, 2020

MIT has had more than its share of memorable commencements, from the collapse of founder William Barton Rogers during his 1882 speech, to the arrival of 17 beavers who parachuted into Killian Court when NASA’s Daniel Goldin spoke in 2001. But all speakers, from heads of state to the legendarily goofy Car Talk brothers Tom Magliozzi ’58 and Ray Magliozzi ’72, have been united in their respect for the graduates and the gargantuan achievement of earning an MIT degree. Since the in-person celebration of the Class of 2020 must be pushed off to a future date, we revisit some notable commencement addresses from years past. Watch for more information from MIT about the virtual commencement scheduled for May 29.

"Formerly a wide separation existed between theory and practice: now in every fabric that is made, in every structure that is reared, they are closely united into one interlocking system -- the practical is based upon the scientific, and the scientific is solidly built upon the practical." _MIT founder William Barton Rogers on the mission of the Institute.