First-generation graduates to speak at Brown commencements

Brown has a tradition of selecting commencement speakers from its graduating students. | File photo

Graduate students Matthew Lyddon and Alberto Morales, both the first members in their families to earn college degrees, will deliver commencement addresses for their peers in the Graduate School at Brown University.

“We are both extremely proud to be first-generation college graduates,” Morales said. “We often pinch ourselves about this tremendous honor, given our similar backgrounds. Being first-generation is crucial to my identity; it has shaped my understanding of the world and provided me with a sense of urgency.”

Brown has a tradition of selecting commencement speakers from its graduating students, and Lyddon and Morales were chosen by the Graduate Student Council. Lyddon will receive his doctorate in political science and address his fellow doctoral students at the Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle with a speech entitled “On Making It, and What to Make of It.” Morales, the son of Mexican immigrants who is earning his master’s degree in public affairs, will deliver his “Bridging America’s Racial Divide: Our Privilege in Writing the Next Chapter,” speech to the master’s graduates at Pembroke Field.

“There are some deep ways that forging on into education changes you,” Lyddon said. “You travel in different circles, and develop different ways of thinking to those predominant in your home community.”

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