Student Speaker Ruby Clarke ’24 to Call for Love Through Curiosity

Mike MavredakisMay 23, 20245min
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In an act of curiosity, when Ruby Clarke ’24 was a first-year, they committed themselves to learning about one sport in each of their four years at Wesleyan. They wanted to understand why people have so much fun playing or caring about sports. Four years later, they are set to complete a feat known to hockey lovers, a hat trick—speaking at three of their graduations. 

Clarke, who spoke at their middle school and high school graduations in California, will deliver the student address at Wesleyan’s 192nd Commencement Ceremony on May 26. They said they will call for students to love through learning, being curious, and listening to others, themes they also spoke about at previous graduation ceremonies. 

“People are afraid of earnestness, but be as earnest as possible, as much as you can,” said Clarke, College of Social Studies and American Studies double-major, offering advice to their fellow classmates. “I think that people really like and appreciate when you’re earnest and you’re willing to share things with them.” 

Clarke hails from a small town in Marin County, California with a population of 900 people. The choice to move away from their tight-knit community at home to come to Wesleyan was not an easy one for them, as they plan to say in their speech.  

They think that the classroom can bring out the best in people and that the search for knowledge takes a kind of vulnerability that can create a caring community.  

The ultimate prerequisite for curiosity is care,” Clarke wrote in their speech. “The difference between mere questioning and earnest, yearning curiosity is caring. To care is to be kind. And what is kindness if not sharing your love with others?” 

So, they took a chance and came to Wesleyan. A risk that paid off, as Clarke found a community of students to love and open themselves up to. 

“If my time at Wesleyan taught me anything, it taught me to love,” Clarke plans to say in their commencement speech.  

Clarke aimed to be a resource for people and to give their time to others in need of help. By joining the Wesleyan Student Association (WSA) and other work in collective action, Clarke had a direct line to be that impactful person for other students.  

“I want to be the kind of person where if people have a problem, they can come to me and I can help them find a solution,” Clarke said. 

Clarke spent four years in WSA working on its Student Life Committee, which focuses on a range of areas of student experience like dining, student health, employment, Residential Life, and more. They were also involved in many on-campus collective action movements. 

Now graduating Wesleyan, Clarke hopes to one day foster a similar community again someday.  In the short term, they will stay in Middletown after graduation to continue their work in collective action. They plan to work with an organized group advocating for bus drivers in northwestern Connecticut. They will also work to develop curricula for K to 12 students on collective action, with the hopes of getting it placed within the state curriculum.