On June 3, University of Chicago fourth-year students David Liang, Zara Malik and Allison Mattessich will deliver remarks to their fellow graduates as part of the College’s sixth annual Class Day ceremony.
Each year, three students are selected to speak at Class Day, a tradition that celebrates the accomplishments of the College’s graduating class. Class Day 2022 will take place this year as an in-person event for the first time since 2019, and will be webcast on the UChicago News site starting this Friday at 2 p.m. CT.
The celebration also will feature a keynote address from bestselling author Samira Ahmed, AB’93, MAT’93, and the presentation of College awards.
A native of Hong Kong, David Liang will graduate with a bachelor’s in economics and political science. During his time in the College, Liang was involved in the Maroon Key Society, and served in Student Government as undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees and a representative of the Class of 2022. He also held leadership roles at LTF Ventures, the Campus Policy Research Institute and the University Business Institute.
Liang’s speech highlights how students in the College made the most of their experiences despite the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences, he said, have prepared the Class of 2022 to tackle the future with strength, courage, virtue and love. Liang hopes that his fellow graduates will keep asking themselves tough questions, and reminds them to not underestimate themselves.
“I want my peers to know that a good education empowers people to transform fear into optimism in face of uncertainty—that is what a UChicago education is all about,” he said. “It gives us the tools and methods to come together and work on solving the most challenging issues of our time, be it disease, climate change, or great power politics, knowing that a solution to any problem would be attainable if we put our minds to it.”
After graduation, Liang will return to Hong Kong to work as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Zara Malik will graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology. A Dougan Scholar, Malik participated in the Wellness Advisory Board, Student Health Advisory Board, Women’s Leadership Book Club and Women’s Leadership Program. She was also a member of the Maroon Key Society.
In her speech, Malik discusses the impact of her two grandmothers, who taught her to be her authentic self, no matter the circumstances. She charges her peers to continue to be themselves after they leave the comfort of campus.
“I hope the class of 2022 will take away from my speech that what got them through UChicago’s hard curriculum was not just their intellect and grit; it was also a product of their willingness to be vulnerable—to open up to their professors and peers when they were in need of help,” she said. “As we enter the real world, this lesson will become even more important, given that none of the challenges our society faces today can be solved alone.”
Malik will be staying in Chicago and working as an analyst at Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm that provides the capital and expertise to help software companies scale their business.
Originally from Westfield, New Jersey, Allison Mattessich will graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology and business economics. She guided visitors through campus tours as a student visit coordinator in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and worked as a research assistant at the Center for Decision Research during her time as a student. She was a supporter for Lean On Me, and also took part in Rhythmic Bodies in Motion’s Jazz Dance and University Theater Staged Readings.
In her speech, Mattessich discusses the importance of relationships, no matter the size, and the impact that even small interactions can make. She encourages the audience to reflect on how the College has built a community that helps everyone learn, grow, and find themselves.
“I think we have all met people at UChicago who have changed us for the better—people who have made us think through a new perspective, pushed us outside our comfort zone, or helped us realize something about ourselves,” she said. “In my speech, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to the truly special people here who have impacted who I am and the way I see the world. The meaningful interactions we’ve had here need not be forgotten when we move on with our lives; hopefully they will forever shape who we are and help us create a better world for others.”
After graduating, she will pursue a master’s in social work at Columbia University, and eventually, a career in psychotherapy.
—This story was also published on the UChicago College website.