Senior Kyle-Brandon Denis and Dylan Eiger, M.D.-Ph.D. candidate in the School of Medicine, delivered welcoming remarks in their speeches at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony.
The University announced that student speakers would give “brief welcome remarks” instead of full-length speeches in an April email. The changes came nearly a year after The Chronicle reported that the language of the 2022 student Commencement speech, given by Priya Parkash, Trinity ’22, bore striking resemblance to a 2014 Harvard Commencement address. The email did not clarify whether these changes were made in response to last year's student Commencement speech.
Denis is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science and plans to join Billboard as a staff writer following graduation. Eiger is graduating from Duke with both an M.D. and a Ph.D. Following graduation, he will begin his internal medicine residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Denis reflected on the “monumental” journey of the Class of 2023, as he pointed to the graduates’ perseverance through the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke about how the Class of 2023 did not “simply adapt to the never-ending evolution of our beloved University,” but instead led organizations and preserved “cherished traditions” for future Blue Devils.
Denis spoke about his own time at Duke — belting show tunes with his friends in his first year dorm, filling Cameron Indoor Stadium with “collective euphoria” and fostering community with the Black Student Alliance.
“No matter the path we took it to, each member of the Class of 2023 has demonstrated resilience, curiosity and commitment to our fellow humans,” he said. “Today may be our last day together as a class, but I know we will carry the Duke spirit with us wherever life leads us.”
Eiger spoke about the meaning of “Forever Duke.” For him, the alumni motto meant a “life-long commitment” to “scholarship, service, leadership and excellence.”
For Eiger, Commencement represents the commitment to “improve the world as representatives of this University” through the “core values” of the University.
“Let us embrace the memories we have created, and the friendships that will last a lifetime. Let us set out to represent the best humankind has to offer,” he said. “Let us celebrate our accomplishments and begin our next chapter of forever.”
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Audrey Wang is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 119th volume.