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Priya Parkash

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Duke senior’s commencement speech accused of being plagiarized from Harvard student’s 2014 address

  • Priya Parkash, Duke University’s commencement speaker for Duke’s Class of 2022, faced heavy criticism after delivering a speech that appears highly identical to a speech by Sarah Abushaar, Harvard University’s commencement speaker for Harvard’s Class of 2014.
  • During her commencement ceremony on May 8, Parkash called her school “the Duke nation” and declared that it could become its own country.
  • Duke’s student newspaper The Chronicle would later point out that this theme, along with several other metaphors and rhetoric from Parkash’s speech, have “striking similarities” to those from Abushaar’s speech, which emphasizes “the Harvard nation.” 
  • Some of the similarities between the two speeches include comparisons of campus monuments to iconic landmarks and alumni associations to tax collection agencies. 
  • On May 11, Parkash released a statement acknowledging the similarities between the two speeches, attributing them to “suggested passages” by “respected friends and family.” 
  • Abushaar later released a statement via The Crimson noting that she hopes Parkash can use the “serious error in judgment” as an “opportunity to learn and grow.”

A graduating student at Duke University faced heavy criticism after delivering a commencement address that shared “striking similarities” with a Harvard University graduation speech from 2014.

During her commencement ceremony on May 8, speaker Priya Parkash called her school “the Duke nation” and said it could become its own country due to its various associations and landmarks.