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Grad Shares How Anthropology Students Have ‘Qualities That Every Field Requires’

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student Commencement Speech
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Amaris Aloise, B.A. anthropology, public administration

I’m honored to be speaking on behalf of our anthropology graduates. Before I begin, I would like to thank my family. I would not be the person I am today without you all. To my mom and dad, thank you for always encouraging me to be myself and supporting me no matter what. To my sister, thank you for being a role model. A mis abuelos, este viaje empezó con ustedes. Gracias por traer nuestra familia a este pais que nos ha dado muchas oportunidades.

I’m sure there are many graduates today who have the same message for their families and friends, so thank you to all who are here to support your graduate. I would also like to give a special thank you to the professors who helped us get to this moment.

I know when I told my parents I was majoring in anthropology, they had one question I’m sure many — if not every — anthropology graduate here has heard before: “What do you even do with a degree in anthropology?”

Well, the answer to that question is quite simple and I can tell you in one word. You ask what we can do? I say everything. And, that’s because these graduates have a lot of special qualities that every field requires, and anthropology teaches us in unique ways.

Anthropology is about people, and more than anything it’s about understanding. It recognizes our differences without vilifying them. It acknowledges what makes each of us unique while also appreciating one very important similarity: We are all human. No matter how different we are, we deserve the same respect.

Anthropology requires a type of understanding and awareness that exceeds expectations and ignites explorations.

Anthropology requires creativity. It requires us to think outside of the box and outside of our normal expectations. It requires us to see the world in a million different ways through a million different years.

It requires dedication. Anthropological endeavors don’t happen in a few hours or even a few days — they happen over years, decades, even lifetimes.

Graduates, you encompass all these very special qualities. It is these qualities that have gotten you here despite the obstacle we all faced of a worldwide pandemic and despite the personal obstacles you may have had to face alone. These are qualities that are important in any field. I decided to take these qualities to the legal field, but you might decide to take them to the medical field, the corporate world, to an ancient site, or to a place and a people I’ve never heard of.

Whatever it is you do, I know that you will positively impact the world, and probably in ways the world didn’t know it needed. Congratulations, Class of 2022!