Class president

Hopkins grads have 'capacity to discover and reveal truths'

Senior class president William Cho challenges his classmates to respond to disinformation and injustice with wisdom, moral clarity, and a commitment to upholding the truth

Video: Patrick Ridgely / Johns Hopkins University

Remarks as delivered by Johns Hopkins University senior class president William Cho at the universitywide Commencement ceremony on May 27, 2021.

In recent years, basic facts have been challenged and rebuffed, painfully costing people their dignity, their rights, and, over the last year in particular, their lives. Yet in the midst of this turmoil, we as students have been taught to seek the truth, and we now have the chance to leverage our skills and efforts to uphold it as a fundamental virtue. The Hopkins experience has gifted us with not just static knowledge, but the capacity to discover and reveal truths.

In an era of disinformation, it falls upon us to respond with scientific wisdom, moral clarity, and commitment to the truth. Many have chosen to turn a blind eye or even deny facts, while others spoke out, pleading for reason, change, or even just compassion. Whether it be fighting to mitigate COVID, or combatting injustice, we must endeavor to elevate the truth, with an open mind and a critical eye.

We have all experienced the academic rigor of Hopkins, but my proudest moments as a Blue Jay have been when we sought truth outside of the classroom, like when we stood for racial equity, or demanded accountability for sexual assaults on campus. I have seen first-hand my peers' passion and resolve, and I am inspired by knowing what we will achieve in the years to come.

For all that we have accomplished, and all that we will, it is thanks to those who came before us and those who supported us on our journeys: faculty and staff, families and friends, and one another. As we prepare to leave this institution, I simply ask you all to never stop striving for the truth. The Hopkins motto reads: "Veritas Vos Liberabit." Although it translates to "the truth will set you free," true freedom comes from the actions we take in the service of truth. That is the challenge that now lies before us.

Thank you.