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Editor’s farewell: On the place I called home

First, please read what I have to say here only after you’re forced, having already examined the rest of this hefty Daily Commencement issue. The pages you are holding are a testament to the talent and dedication of my peers, coworkers and friends. The articles selected from this year’s work are just a glimpse of the values of The Daily as an institution and the characters of the students who make it happen: independent, always questioning, collaborative, inspired and sometimes fueled by a bit too much caffeine.

Now, you may be reading this as you sit in the stands waiting for the Commencement festivities to begin with Wacky Walk. Someone special to you is graduating from Stanford. Congratulations.

As the rare senior serving as spring editor in chief and with the prospect of writing this letter hanging over my head, I’ve been thinking about graduation speeches lately and how to say goodbye.

And so I’m happy to share with you some life lessons I’ve picked up at The Daily.

It’s very important to get things right, but know that you will make mistakes along the way. There’s never enough time. It’s the people who matter. Find a mentor. Just as important, be a mentor. Be kind and patient. Stay hungry. Friendship is the fabric of our lives.

Okay, I’m fairly certain that last one is cotton. And the one before that was said by Steve Jobs in his 2005 Commencement address.

The point is, for those of us lucky enough to have worked for The Daily, this is where we have grown during our college years and learned our first important life lessons. We’ve been tested by the rigors of putting a paper out each day, the code of ethics we choose to follow, a rapidly changing industry and the honor of shaping the campus dialogue.

Over the past four months, the campus conversation has touched on issues of deep importance to each of us. We debated a heated student government election and changes to the Judicial Affairs process. We examined what law and order mean, home and abroad, with the arrests of a top student-athlete and an alumnus in the West Bank. We considered what makes a Stanford education as the Faculty Senate voted on landmark curriculum changes. We discussed what kind of living environment we cherish as the University moved to revoke Chi Theta Chi’s lease despite student and alumni protest.

We experienced loss.

This led to an essential conversation about suicide and an examination of mental health resources on campus.

In these tough times, community members look to The Daily for dependable information and thoughtful reporting.

Being at the helm of such an organization has been a privilege beyond what I could have imagined. And I’m not blind to how lucky I have been. I’ve found something that I love even in its most painful moments. Sometimes especially in its most painful moments.

Journalism, I’ve learned – the thrill of reporting and the joy of passing it on to others – sticks with you.

I cannot thank the dedicated Daily family enough. Few realize the expansive team, with almost 200 contributors each year, that is required to make the paper happen. To our professional staff members, our business staff, the Board of Directors, alumni, writers, artists, photographers and the crazy bunch of editors who joined me this volume and suffered through my jokes: Thank you.

I have confidence that our new leadership will take us to even greater heights and the conversation will continue. I can’t wait.

So much for patience.

Sincerely,

Margaret Rawson

President and editor in chief, Vol. CCXLI

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