Caroline Kessler (DC'11) was 8,000 miles from Pittsburgh when she stumbled across a familiar read for sale in an Indian bookstore. While this particular version had been translated into Malayalam, The Last Lecture was instantly recognizable to the Carnegie Mellon University student.
"I couldn't even explain to the people I was with how thrilled I was to see Pausch's book so far from home. In that moment, I became fully aware of the extent of the global reach that Carnegie Mellon University has," Kessler said.
It's a memory the graduating senior will never forget. She's also likely not to forget being the student speaker at the university's 115th Commencement.
"This is a really wonderful time to highlight the amazing things that students do here, and to celebrate our achievements," she said. "There is no typical Carnegie Mellon student, but there is this common thread running through us all in that each of us is passionate about something specific. Students from CMU are incredibly motivated, and you can see that drive in them no matter where you meet them in the world."
One of those motivated students, Jin Seop Kim (CS'12), was in Rwanda recently as part of a CMU program called Technology Consulting in the Global Community.
"I went to Rwanda to help as an IT consultant and it was there that I braided my hair for the first time," said Kim, recalling one of his favorite memories from CMU. "I was the star of the community. Everyone wanted to see the Asian dude with braided hair."
Turi Alcoser (E'12) came to CMU from Texas and had never seen snow before.
"During the fall, I was walking to class and right there by the clock it started to snow. I literally just stopped. I stuck my head up and tried catching a snowflake on my tongue. I was so fascinated I decided to just play in the snow for a while."
Kathryn Thomas (A'12) recalls her sophomore year as one of her most memorable. "In my sophomore year, I did the big three. I joined a sorority, was an understudy booth chair, and I pushed buggy — all in the span of a month!"
Moments of rest are rare for the hard-working students at CMU. So it's no surprise that sharing a quiet early morning hour before dawn with a classmate sticks well in one's mind.
"One year my good friend and I were running for positions in student government," said Kelsey Briggs (CS'12). "We did a lot of advertising. We worked through the night and finished after 4 a.m. in the Gates Center. We just sat down in some of those crazy chairs and talked about life, philosophy … it was just incredibly personal and to share that moment with such a good friend was really special."
Nearby, the hallway between Wean and Newell-Simon holds a unique memory for Stephanie Sneider (TPR'12).
"One day I was walking down the hallway between Wean and Newell-Simon. Everyone was acting normal. Then I did a double-take as I realized a full-fledged human-sized robot was walking the other way. Is that normal? At Carnegie Mellon it is."
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