Commencement speakers share messages of "fearless optimism" in the face of uncertainty

May 20, 2022

Listen to university medalist Anjika Pal, student commencement speaker Jacob Dadmun, and founder of Latino Outdoors José G. González share their messages of "fearless optimism" in recordings from last weekend's commencement ceremonies.

Anjika Pai

As the university medalist, Pai addressed her graduating classmates during last Saturday’s campuswide commencement. Sharing a personal love letter to Berkeley, Pai touched on adjusting to California after moving from Jamison, Pennsylvania; weathering periods of political, societal, and environmental turmoil; and using "fearless optimism" to build "knowledge for the public good.”

“There will always be a special place in my heart for you,” Pai told her classmates, noting that her time at Cal helped her grow into “a kinder, smarter and far more laid-back person than I originally was.” 

“But I need space to grow, and I need to take what I’ve learned here to keep furthering our mission for future generations,” she said. “In that way, I suppose it’s best for both of us.”

Watch her speech in the video below.

Jacob Dadmun

Despite the challenges of climate change, political uncertainty, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dadmun remains an incurable optimist. Like the writer and activist James Baldwin, Dadmun refuses to resign to pessimism—opting instead to focus on the agency and ability of his graduating class to change their communities for the better.

During his time at Cal, Dadmun brought his optimistic, solution-oriented mentality to his DeCal class on applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge within a policymaking framework. He’s also used it to guide coverage as an editor of The Leaflet, the Student Environmental Resource Center’s undergraduate environmental journal. 

And last Sunday, Dadmun’s message of optimism led him to the stage at the Greek Theater. There he addressed his classmates, family,  and Rausser College community as the 2022 student commencement speaker.

Watch his speech in the video below.

José G. González

González, the founder and director emeritus of Latino Outdoors, was the keynote speaker for the 2022 Rausser College commencement ceremony.

A professional educator with training in the fields of education and conservation, González often explores the intersection of the environment and culture through art and messaging. As a Partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields.

Watch his speech in the video below.