“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My parents were newlyweds on this campus. They'd been married six months and my mother was nineteen. They came from Manitoba, drove a 1966 Mustang, and carried Christmas trees through the snow.

These were the stories behind the Harvard pennant on my wall. Now I have my own story: she came from Toronto, she fell in love.

I know my parents are proud of me, because they are the kind of parents that say so, but I hope they know how proud I am of them - and of what they've given me.

From my father: A fascination with excellence. An impatience with mediocrity and problems unsolved. Sensitive skin and a stubborn streak. An engineer's mind.

From my mother: Strength, vulnerability and empathy. A sensitivity to suffering and a silly side. A nurse's heart.

Mine alone: An artistic eye, wanderlust.

If I am true to myself - to these things inherited and invented - what will I do? I will keep accounts of things given, not kept. I will work so that empathy and excellence more often intersect. I will love; the thing my parents taught me to do best of all.

And I will say thank you.

— Christy Gibb