"Life is best when you live deeply and you look up," Commencement Speaker Dr. Mae Jemison—who as a NASA astronaut was the first African-American woman in space—told Bryn Mawr's class of 2019 on Saturday.
During her speech, Jemison touched on a number of topics ranging from environmental challenges to her experience in space, but it was this phrase that she returned to most frequently.
"To live deeply we have to appreciate all of our world. We have to connect to the intellectual, the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. We are not complete, we are not our best selves, if we disregard, dishonor, or ignore any one of those," she told the crowd of graduates and their families.
"I frequently look up, just like I used to do as a child, to reconnect to the universe and to others worldwide because we are intrinsically connected...What's above us really unites us. We may look at slightly different stars but we look at the same moon, we look at the same sun...That connection with the greater universe is something I wish for you throughout your lives."
Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy also addressed the graduates.
"You are an incredibly talented group who embody the academic excellence that is Bryn Mawr’s hallmark," said Cassidy. "Bryn Mawr is better for you having been here. I know you’ll go on to do great things, in many fields of endeavor, through many different pathways."
The event also included readings from Haverford President Kim Benston and Bryn Mawr Trustee Jomaira Salas '13, and the presentation of the College's two highest undergraduate awards.
The Gertrude Slaughter Fellowship, which is awarded for excellence in scholarship, was awarded to two students: Rachel Sadaty Ellerson of Port Washington, N.Y., who graduated summa cum laude in anthropology with a minor in creative writing; and Kexin Qiu of Yangzhou, China, who graduated summa cum laude in economics and mathematics.
The European Traveling Fellowship has been awarded by the College each year since its first entering class graduated in 1889. It was presented to Talia Shiroma of Blacklick, Ohio, who graduated summa cum laude in history of art.
A number of faculty awards and honors were also presented.