Elected by the members of the Classes of 2013 to be their faculty speaker during the Senior Dinner, Assistant Professor of Education Khuram Hussain reminded the senior classes to reflect on what’s most important to them and to recall the experiences that led to their own personal empowerment. He also urged them not to lose sight of the things that make people come alive.
“I hope you don’t leave this tent tonight without looking honestly, even for a moment, at the way in which you’ve really lived and have been alive,” Hussain said. “What’s more important in your life than the things that make you come alive? What better gift can you offer the world than to truly be alive in it?”
Each year, the Senior Dinner that begins with the procession led by President Mark D. Gearan from Coxe Hall to Houghton House is followed by the President’s toast and The President’s Garage Band performance. On Thursday night, the HWS Classes of 2013 embarked on that momentous annual tradition, reveling in the time before Commencement with friendship, spirited reflection and excitement.
At the dinner, Class presidents Brianne Ellis ’13 and Raphael Durand ’13 addressed the Classes of 2013 together, reflecting on the highlights of the past four years, noting recent accomplishments, and underscoring the successes they’ll be sure to make following graduation.
“We grew to be well-rounded students, mature thinkers, capable leaders and responsible adults,” said Durand. “We leave Hobart and William Smith Colleges not only with a higher education, but also with a higher understanding and appreciation for each other and ourselves.”
Ellis urged her classmates to go forward without fear and remember the network of support that is Hobart and William Smith. “It’s with those who have come before us, and those yet to come, this campus will remain a home to us all.”
Dean of Hobart College Eugen Baer HON’07, P’95, P’97 and Dean of William Smith College Susanne McNally called on the Classes of 2013 to confidently move toward the next steps in their lives after graduation.
“Really feel satisfaction and pride in your accomplishments, or maybe even a bit of relief,” McNally said. “Really feel your anxiety and excitement about the future, and yes, have the time of your life.”
For his address, Baer said, “Don’t be afraid of risks, and walk the walk of life.”
Following the Senior Dinner, which also included remarks by Gearan, the seniors and members of the HWS community walked to the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center to hear the President’s Toast.
“We toast to you with our gratitude. For your accomplishments in the classroom, your commitment to academic excellence, and for your support here in Geneva through community service and engaging with our Geneva neighbors, your accomplishments in athletics and clubs, from debate to various groups, all of the different ways that have made this campus so much more interesting,” Gearan said.
The toast was met with thunderous applause and the President’s Garage Band, which featured Nelle Crossan ’13 and Youdlyn Moreau ’13 and an all-star line-up of faculty, staff, and Geneva community members, played a range of hits including “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles, and Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
This year’s President’s Garage Band included Baer, Director of Academic Opportunity Programs James Burruto, Assistant Professor of English Robert Carson, Professor of Art Elena Ciletti, Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman, Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet , Assistant Professor of Philosophy Rodmon King, Associate Professor of Economics Jo Beth Mertens, Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller, Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins, Professor of Economics William T. Waller, Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier, and several members of the Geneva community.