Shonda Rhimes 'gets real' with Dartmouth grads - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shonda Rhimes 'gets real' with Dartmouth grads

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HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth College on Sunday bid farewell to the class of 2014. But the message behind the Ivy League school ceremony's commencement speaker was anything but your typical send off.

The traditions at Dartmouth College date back centuries, and as students filed onto the green this graduation day, being told to let go of their dreams is not what you might expect.  

"Dreams are lovely, but they are just dreams -- fleeting, ephemeral, pretty," said Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes knows what's it's like to sit in these seats.  She graduated from the Big Green in 1991.  Today she's a creative force in Hollywood, responsible for several hit TV shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.  In a speech sprinkled with profanity, Rhimes did not sugar coat how she got there.    

"My dreams did not come true, but I worked very hard and ended up building an empire out of my imagination, so my dreams can suck it," Rhimes said.

"She wasn't feeding us the typical information.  She was being real with us  -- what's out there in the world -- and I appreciate it," said Chauna Pervis, a graduate from Long Island, New York.

Graduation is the pinnacle of these students' young careers -- surrounded by friends and family and welcoming in the next chapter of their lives.  Rhimes, who is a mother of three, told the graduating class that the day really belongs to the parents.  "This day is not about you.  This is their day.  This is the day they take back their lives," Rhimes said.

Mothers like Maria Padin-Ebert, who watched her daughter take the walk.  "I am very proud of her.  Proud of where she is going and who she is above all," Padin-Ebert said.

Rhimes challenged graduates to be "doers" instead of dreamers, and to volunteer and focus on something outside themselves -- to not fear the unknown.  "You breathe this rare air.  You feel alive.  You be yourself," she said.

"It was great to hear positive reenforcement of what we are all thinking and so it makes the uncertainty a little less difficult to bear," said Kalon Stephen, a graduate from Texas.

As Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon bid the students a final farewell and the caps, thrown into the air, the moment was not lost on the thousands gathered to be apart of it.  "Hearing the speech and meeting people and seeing the grand ceremony makes me a little bit emotional," said Bicao Li, a graduate from China.

More than 1,900 degrees were awarded to students hailing from 44 different countries.
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