See Ronan Farrow commencement speech on YouTube

Writer, human rights lawyer and diplomat Ronan Farrow encouraged Dominican University of California’s Class of 2012 to “turn obstacles into opportunities” on May 12 when he delivered the keynote address at commencement.

Farrow, who received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree, spoke to more than 320 graduating students during the undergraduate ceremony in the Forest Meadows Amphitheater.

Click here to watch the YouTube video of Farrow's speech.

“It is youthful qualities - a resistance to rules for their own sake, a fearlessness in challenging norms, a willingness to accept risk and uncertainty - those same qualities that will carry you through this next period of change in your lives,” Farrow said. “They have animated these changes around the world.”

Dominican President Marcy B. Marcy paid tribute to the family of Jordan Fromm, honoring his memory by awarding a bachelor’s degree posthumously and announcing the creation of the Jordan Fromm Scholarship Fund. The 25-year-old business administration major died following a yacht racing accident April 14 off the Farallon Islands.

“Jordan was a case study for a college education because in the process of completing his education he found his own voice,” President Marcy said. “He took a liberal education and became an education that liberated.”

President Marcy introduced Farrow as a man of “great wisdom” and “great distinction” and “you would assume I would introduce a man of great age and you would be wrong.” Farrow graduated from Bard College at the age of 15 and, at age 16, was admitted to Yale Law School. Now 24, Farrow was recently named a Rhodes Scholar, and will begin studies at the University of Oxford in Fall 2012.

“The journey you are all embarking on now  -- entering the real world, finding your passions,  laying the groundwork to build your families --  is among the most important tests we undergo as a species. That’s why evolution gave us our reckless brains,” Farrow said. “The trailblazing qualities of youth provide us with an unmatched power to accept change, challenge norms, and adapt to challenging new environments.”

Farrow has most recently served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues and the director of the State Department’s Office of Global Youth Issues.

Peter Jean “J.T.” Teodoro, a Humanities and Cultural Studies major, delivered the Senior Class Address and Emmeline Academia was named Dominican’s Outstanding Student during the commencement.  The Summa Cum Laude and Honors Program student received her Bachelor of Science degree.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Dominican, John R. Gaulding, founder and director of Sage Partners LLC, also received an honorary degree. He delivered the graduate commencement address to about 160 students on Friday in the Conlan Center.