Feng at graduation: ‘Don’t let them underestimate us’

  • June 4, 2018
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 2 minute read

In a steady downpour at WashU’s graduation ceremony the morning of May 18, 2018, senior class president and now Olin alum William “Bill’ Feng, BSBA 2018, reminded classmates, “Those friends, those you made by chance, those who stuck with you through thick and thin—they will stay with you for the rest of your lives.”

Literally, don’t let IT rain down on our parade!

—William “Bill’ Feng, BSBA 2018

Feng began by mentioning the spring break trip he took to China to visit his grandfather, who had never attended high school or college, but was thrilled to be able to see his first grandson accomplish those milestones.

As he sat at the lunch table with seven other people, his grandfather introduced all of them by name and age. “He explained how he befriended and kept in touch with these people for 65 years. He’s 85! He befriended those people when he was in his 20s.”

He urged his classmates to look around and recall the friends they made in classes, dorms, cafeterias, and study rooms, thrown together by a chance meeting or assignment.

“Do you remember how you met them? Do you remember why or where you met? It really doesn’t matter. We met our closest friends by random chance, exactly like my grandfather did.”

And he implored his classmates to remember that his class had changed the world at a critical time in the nation’s political and social history.

“I’ve seen colleagues create movements, found businesses, mobilize entire communities, I’ve even had a friend who told me she could get away with making a graduation cord out of recycled T-shirts as a sustainable option for students not involved in any campus clubs.

“Our class has pushed Washington University toward positive change. We have faced and will continue to face people who say they are more powerful than you, who will say they have more influence than you, who will say they want to underestimate us and they are haters. Because you know what? Don’t let them rain down on our parade.”

Then, he pointed to the sky: “Literally, don’t let IT rain down on our parade,” he said, to laughter from the crowd.

‘Don’t let them underestimate us’

Hear from Bill Feng, Class President, during a rainy 2018 Commencement ceremony in the Brookings quadrangle.

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