Highlighting a week full of tradition and celebration, the annual Senior Dinner and President’s Toast were held as part of Senior Week festivities on Thursday night. The Classes of 2012 took the familiar stroll from Coxe Hall to Houghton House lawn, where they listened to the words of their classmates, deans and professors before adjourning to the Vandervort Room for a toast to their future and a rousing musical performance by the President’s Garage Band.
“Over the past four years, Will and I have worked to bring you the best activities and concerts we could, we’ve tried to make our time here memorable,” said William Smith Class President Colleen O’Hara ’12 during the dinner. “We hope that as you reflect on this week, you remember all the time that we shared.”
“As we look toward graduation, I think about when we first arrived here – how we didn’t know anyone else – and then how we are about to go through a similar stage in our lives again,” reflected Hobart Class President Will Gore ’12. “I look at our success here and I know that we can do it again.”
William Smith Dean Susanne McNally offered the soon-to-be-graduates brief words of wisdom. “Have the time of your lives this weekend,” she said. “However, have the courage to have the strong feeling of this weekend: the joy, the terror, the relief, the brotherhood and sisterhood. Be here.”
When Hobart Dean Eugen Baer addressed the students, he offered advice in the form of questions. “Philosophers are not rich, so I give you the gift of three questions as posed by Immanuel Kant,” said Baer. “What can I know? How should I act? What may I hope for?”
As is tradition at the Senior Dinner, members of the graduating class elect a member of the faculty to deliver the dinner’s keynote address. For a third year in a row, Instructor of Philosophy Rodmon King spoke to the students about their journey through their four years at the Colleges.
“What this moment in your life is really about is who you’ve become and who you can be,” said King. “You’ve done tremendous work with the ocean of your potential – and if you’ve done that work well, you have become a different person, your world view has been transformed.”
“On the next step of the journey should you pursue money, pleasure and fame? No – these things are fleeting – not one of these things is a worthy final goal for you,” he continued. “You must seek a goal that is truly worthy of who you really are – of all the beauty and power within you. Set the compass of your souls for the highest goal: to live a life worthy of you.”
Following the dinner, the Classes reconvened in the Vandervort Room for the President’s Toast and a rocking performance by the President’s Garage Band – an annual classic rock outfit headed by President Mark D. Gearan comprised of faculty and staff members.
“To the Classes of 2012,” declared Gearan in the traditional toast. “Here’s to their achievements in the classroom, in athletics, in clubs, across campus and in the city of Geneva. You have made a real difference during your four years here.”