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“This is How Change is Made”: Allison Arbib ’03 at Cum Laude

Before she covered the eclectic topics she had planned for her speech—calculus, the end of modern day slavery, and grizzly bears, among them—Allison Arbib ’03 had to give a disclaimer.

“You may assume that I’m here because I was Cum Laude myself,” she told the assembled community during the Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony on January 11. “I was not.”

Unlike the 10 seniors being honored during the all-school assembly, Arbib said she had always felt there was “some measure of excellence I came close to but never quite reached.” She had even received a C+ grade in calculus, she said.

“What I’ve learned— what I’m still learning— is that excellence is about working really hard every day to try and make things better, whether anyone is watching or not,” she said. “That there’s beauty in that struggle.”

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