J.K. Rowling extolled the crucial importance of imagination during a speech Thursday at Harvard University’s spring commencement, saying, ”We do not need magic to transform our world.”
The Harry Potter author also stressed the benefit of failure, recalling the humiliations of her time in poverty before her career took off with her string of novels about a bespectacled boy wizard.
Before the speech, two members of Harvard’s class of 1936 paid tribute to Rowling by carrying brooms during an alumni procession.
President Drew Gilpin Faust also welcomed witches, wizards and Muggles — non-magical people in Rowling’s books — to the commencement. Faust noted that there was a larger number of young children than normally expected for a Harvard graduation and that she knew she was the just ”the warm-up act.”