New York Timescolumn
Two weeks ago I took part in commencement for this year's doctoral candidates at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The ceremony was held in the amphitheater on Mount Scopus, which faces out onto the Dead Sea and the Mountains of Moab. The setting sun framed the graduate students in a reddish-orange glow against a spectacular biblical backdrop...

Anyway, as the Hebrew U. doctoral candidates each had their names called out and rose to receive their diplomas from the university's leadership, I followed along in the program. The Israeli names rolled by: "Moshe Nahmany, Irit Nowik, Yuval Ofir. But then every so often I heard an Arab name, like Nuha Hijazi or Rifat Azam or Taleb Mokari.
column
I took part in commencement this year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of America's great science and engineering schools, so I had a front-row seat as the first grads to receive their diplomas came on stage, all of them Ph.D. students. One by one the announcer read their names and each was handed their doctorate--in biotechnology, computing, physics and engineering--by the school's president, Shirley Ann Jackson.

The reason I had to laugh was because it seemed like every one of the newly minted Ph.D.'s at Rensselaer was foreign born. For a moment, as the foreign names kept coming--''Hong Lu, Xu Xie, Tao Yuan, Fu Tang''--I thought that the entire class of doctoral students in physics were going to be Chinese, until ''Paul Shane Morrow'' saved the day. It was such a caricature of what President Jackson herself calls ''the quiet crisis'' in high-end science education in this country that you could only laugh.
reprised
Muhammad Waqar, Avi Wolfman-Arent, Yiran Xia, Victoria Sandoval, Jacqueline Orellana-Flores, Elizabeth Packer, Ramona Singh, Anuja Shah, Mayra Ramos, Emily-Kate Hannapel, Natasha Perez, Samir Paul, Ekta Taneja, Linden Vongsathorn, Michael Tsai, Nardos Teklebrahan, Matiwos Wondwosen.

I went to a high school graduation Monday and a United Nations meeting broke out.

The commencement was my daughter Natalie's, the high school was Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring, Md. There were some 700 kids receiving their diplomas, and as I sat there for two hours listening to each one's name pronounced, I became both fascinated and touched by the stunning diversity--race, religion, ethnicity--of the graduating class. I knew my daughter's school was diverse, but I had no idea it was this diverse.
Samuel Jacobs