Remain open to new ideas to help end divisiveness, UCLA graduates told


Thousands of graduating UCLA students bursting with four years’ worth of hard-earned knowledge were reminded by speakers to remain open to challenging ideas, and to prevent ideology from calcifying their opinions.

The graduates heard speeches that touched on the turbulent social issues that colored their college years. Chancellor Block congratulated them on being the best UCLA class yet, and answered questions that students had sent in advance about how to approach uncertainty, how make the world better, and how to connect with community. The answers lie in remaining open to different ideas, even when they are challenging or upsetting, Block said.

“I was really deeply impressed by your questions and the generosity that they conveyed,” Block said. “I’ve thought a lot about the need for openness — and the need to avoid getting trapped by our own assumptions about people, careers, politics or the world in general. I think, in my opinion, much of the divisiveness in our country and in the world today is a result of facts being discarded or twisted through narrow perceptual funnels.”

Block reminded them that as they face challenges like solving homelessness, gun violence and climate change, they are not alone.

“The people who share your values and hold you accountable to your best selves — the people with whom you’ve created bonds — those are your community,” Block said. “But beyond that — this is important — the people who don’t look like you, who don’t share your worldview, who do really seem to have different values: They’re really your community, too. And your destiny is undoubtedly bound to their destiny.”

Read Chancellor Block’s speech.
Read more on UCLA Newsroom.