Posted May 7, 2020

Lauryn Hill’s message to the Class of 2020

The singer, songwriter and rapper writes about the importance of purpose and youthful optimism.

The Temple flag flies outside Sullivan Hall.
Photography By: 
Betsy Manning
The Temple flag flies outside Sullivan Hall.

Iconic singer, songwriter and rapper Lauryn Hill has a special message for Temple’s Class of 2020.

Dear Temple University Graduating Class of 2020,

First, congratulations.
Second, congratulations
and third, congratulations for accomplishing what at times may have seemed a gargantuan
task in the age of distraction—receiving a diploma for years of focus and commitment to
scholarship. I know this message finds you in the unique and unprecedented circumstance
of a graduation ceremony held remotely, but for the safety of you and your families consider
this the beginning of a significant story you’ll have to share with those that follow you. For
this time is indeed historic, and if we’re paying attention, pregnant with purpose. Purpose is
powerful. The work one puts his or her hands to with purpose attached, becomes charged,
activated and often deeply meaningful. Purpose-filled acts can change lives, move
communities and alter the course of history.

I hope that you understand the power of your youth—its grace and vitality.
I hope that you understand the power of opportunity and the privilege of knowledge.
I hope that you protect your youth, value your opportunities and continue to grow your

The world desperately needs youthful optimism and people prepared to help lead and guide
its course with wisdom and informed perspective.

Make no mistake, our times aren’t easy, but they aren’t impossible to alter and positively
affect either.

Acts of kindness,
acts of courage,
acts of responsibility,
acts informed by wisdom and preparation can help bring stability, clarity and positive
vibration back.

Knowledge is a cure for ignorance.
Confidence and preparedness, a cure for insecurity and instability.

Respect the fact that a paradigm still exists to teach, enlighten and encourage young minds
to walk into the future with a tool-kit full of possibilities and solutions.

Remember that in this age, learning HOW to learn is just AS valuable as learning a particular
subject, skill or trade. Consider yourselves and work hard to be assets in whatever field, lane
or space you find yourself.

You can be living, breathing, and dynamic, solution and possibility-makers.
Do your best to contribute to the health of the world, to add to it and not to subtract,
BECAUSE, you can. Begin to imagine and then create the world as you know it has the
potential to be when intelligence, ingenuity and optimism enter the room.

Be that intelligence.
Be that ingenuity.
Be that optimism.
Be that light.

I look forward to experiencing the impact of your particular charge and contributions to the
world. Don’t be afraid to shine in your most authentic form, nor should you be afraid to self-reflect and fine tune that light as you go.

Extend gratitude to your families, and to the faculty and administrators who assisted in the
development of your full-of-potential young minds. You’ve grown from promising students
into mature, more-than-capable young adults ready to accomplish incredible goals in your
respective fields and beyond.

We celebrate you.
You invested in yourselves.
May the return on that investment lead to accomplishment,
and a most meaningful journey!

Congratulations to the graduating class of Temple University 2020!

Ms. Lauryn Hill