Hillary Clinton is probably hard at work on her acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for the US Presidential poll. Till then, there's a speech she gave all of 47 years ago as a student of Wellesley College that unwittingly – or was it remarkably prescient? – points the way to the future.

In that speech, she had said, referring to the famous quote by Otto Van Bismarck about politics being the art of the possible, "The challenge now is to practise politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."

In the introduction to this speech, the ninth President of Wellesley College Ruth M Adams said, "The class of '69 has expressed a desire to have one of their own speak to them at this morning's commencement. There was no debate as far as I could ascertain as to who their spokesman was to be, Ms Hillary Rodham."

And so Clinton – then Rodham – became the first student to deliver a commencement speech at Wellesley College. She was a newly minted Democrat then, having switched from being a Republican in high school and early college.

Addressing the gathering of 400 students, Clinton said, "I find myself in a familiar position, that of reacting. Something that our generation has been doing for quite a while now. We are not in the positions yet of leadership and power but we do have the element of criticising and constructive protest.

She spoke about growing up in the politically charged environment of the 1960s in the United States, "Our attitudes are easily understood, having grown up in the first five years of this decade. Years dominated by men with dreams. Men in the civil rights movement, in the peace corps, the space programme. So we arrived at Wellesley and all of us found there was a gap between expectation and realities, but it wasn't a discouraging gap and it didn't turn us into cynical bitter old woman at the age of 18, it just inspired us to do something about that gap."

She concluded with a message of hope. "One of the most tragic things that happened yesterday, a beautiful day was that I was talking to a woman who said that she wouldn't want to be me for anything in the world. She didn't want to live today and look ahead to what it is she sees because she is afraid. Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it. Not now."