Broadway heavyweight Lin-Manuel Miranda applauded Hunter College graduates for “trying to learn the truth in an age of online misinformation” in a stirring commencement speech Tuesday.
The famous playwright and actor, who’s also a Hunter College High School alum, acknowledged the difficulties faced by the CUNY grads over the course of their studies, but shared a message of hope and inspiration.
“The times and challenges that greet you are greater than those faced by Jonathan [Larson] or myself or anyone in history,” the “Hamilton” producer said.
“I cannot pretend to understand what college feels like in the middle of a global pandemic. I cannot pretend to understand how you begin to find your people when you’re in a lockdown. I cannot imagine trying to learn the truth in an age of online misinformation when it seems like our personally tailored algorithms cannot even agree on the same set of facts upon which to build a shared reality.”
Miranda told the graduates that he looked toward his predecessors, like Larson and Stephen Sondheim, for inspiration to get through the tough times.
All three composers suffered through menial jobs and late-night hours to scrape by financially while carving out time to pursue their passions, the “In the Heights” creator said.
“You do what you have to do. That allows for the most space for what you want to do,” Miranda said.
“What do you have to do? What do you want to do? Tomorrow is not promised. Make plans anyway. You are opening doors. Shout, ‘Here we are!’ You’re filling up days on a diamond. Keep choosing life and keep choosing connection. It will feel like you’re running out of time. But in all likelihood, you’ve got plenty of time.”
Miranda made his commencement speech just one week after one of the Hunter College’s since-fired professors held a machete to a Post reporter’s neck.