Secretary of State addresses Class of 2000
by Cathy Cockrell/Photos by Peg Skorpinski
salutations to graduating seniors, "university officials, family
members, protesters and friends," US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright addressed UC Berkeley's Class of 2000 in a commencement
ceremony, May 10, that managed to embody many of the campus's
addresses the Class of 2000
of State -- after suggesting that seniors would immediately
begin to forget "the carefully memorized names of old composers,
dead kings and the body parts of dissected frogs" -- focused
her remarks on events in the international arena.
highest-ranking woman in the US government, Albright recalled
her surprise at being named the 64th US Secretary of State,
and the first female to hold the office, after a run of 63 males.
confers with Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl
that I was modest," she told the audience in Berkeley's outdoor
Hearst Greek Theatre. "It's just that I had never seen a Secretary
of State wearing a skirt."
remark drew enthusiastic applause, as well as cries of "genocide!"
from individuals in the audience opposed to US sanctions against
Iraq. In all, 59 protesters were escorted from various locations
in the amphitheater during the event.
of the UC Berkeley Class of 2000
Secretary of State praised a number of current US foreign policy
initiatives, including efforts to end international trafficking
in women and girls, offer debt relief for the world's poorest
countries, and oppose sweatshop conditions in the global apparel
to those who characterize students in their twenties as indifferent,
Albright enumerated the humanitarian projects around the globe
that have been conducted by Berkeley students.
those who say your generation is materialistic, I say come to
Berkeley, which has contributed more Peace Corps volunteers
than any other institution in our country," she said.
and friends take it all in at the Greek Theatre
Albright's departure, several commencement speakers, including
former US Congressman Jerome Waldie, who graduated from Berkeley
50 years ago, reminded those gathered of the right to protest
and the value of free speech.
Last to address
the Class of 2000, which numbers 6,500, was this year's top
graduating senior, University Medalist Fadia Rafeedie.
scheduled to immediately precede Albright on the program, the
22-year-old daughter of Palestinian immigrants criticized Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein, but also the role of the US in building
up "this brutal dictator" and imposing sanctions against Iraq
that she said had led to the death of 2.5 million people.
Medalist Fadia Rafeedie
Of the protesters
inside and outside the amphitheater, she said emotionally: "They
do not embarrass our university; I think they dignify it."
speech, like Albright's earlier, brought Berkeley's Class of
2000 to its feet for a standing ovation.
text of Albright's commencement speech
Medalist Fadia Rafeedie's speech
of 2000 Commencement
Albright heads a distinguished list of commencement speakers
as UC Berkeley's Class of 2000 graduates
Berkeley's top graduating senior is driven by thirst for knowledge,
good books and a commitment to others