Hobart College seniors gathered for the Hobart Launch at Bozzuto Boathouse on Friday, May 16, where they were officially welcomed as members of the Hobart Alumni Association.
As a symbol to remember their time at HWS, members of the Hobart Class of 2014 were each presented with replicas of the paddle used by legendary Seneca warrior, Agayentah. The event also marked the formal welcoming of Campus Safety Sergeant Maurice Harling P’16, HON’14 as an Honorary Class Member.
“Hobart College prepares to send you off and prepares you for a new beginning at the same time,” said Alumni Association President J.B. Robinson ’96 during the welcome address. “Everyone’s definition of ‘lives of consequence’ should include some level of connection to Hobart and the men you stand with on this dock today. I hope you all stay very connected with one another.”
Robinson also announced that Clune Walsh ’14 had been elected Class Agent to advance those connections among his peers.
Keynote speaker Jason K. Walbourn ’96 shared the reasons Hobart is so special to him, reminding students of how much they’ve grown and learned during their time spent at the Colleges.
“I never thought moving down the road would make such a difference,” said Walbourn, referencing his hometown of Oswego, N.Y. “I developed the best and closest friends, received an education that prepared me for the future, and I really believe that I grew up here.”
Walbourn, who now serves as senior litigator for Target Corporation, told of the impact his education and experiences at Hobart had on preparing him for the future, and of his confidence that it will do the same for the Hobart men about to embark on their own journeys: “It was all my experiences here, good and bad, that helped me identify my own identity, my own ideas, and my own voice,” Walbourn said.
Reflecting on the experiences of the Hobart Class of 2014, student speaker Peter Bolte ’14 reminded his classmates of how they’ve “grown together” to become “a team.” Bolte focused on the idea that “phenomena don’t exist independent of their context,” telling his classmates that they have the power to change their own contexts.
“Our context influences and shapes us, but we also shape and influence our context,” Bolte said. “I urge you not to just passively observe and absorb your surroundings, but to actively change and co-create your context. Our teachers have given us a compass and a map, instead of telling us which path to take. Be grateful to what has brought you here, and be prepared to change the context as you go out and co-create the world.”
Following Bolte’s remarks, Harling was officially made an Honorary Class Member.
“I’ve become a huge fan of you young men,” said Harling. “Every second I’m in the classroom I’m having an absolute blast.”
Harling not only plays an integral role with HWS Campus Safety, but also is a part-time student, working toward a degree in Religious Studies. He is a former semi-pro football player, has received numerous awards and prizes as a power-lifter and is the father of four teenage daughters who have helped him learn the ropes of student-life.
Dean of Hobart College Eugene Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07 concluded the ceremony with a reminder that the paddle serves as a guide to the seniors throughout their lives, “until they reach the other shore.”
After the benediction, the members of the Hobart Class of 2014 lined up to ceremonially dip the paddles into the waters of Seneca Lake.
“It was a great conclusion to my four years here to have a send-off into the real world surrounded by all these alums who we can use as role models for the rest of our lives,” said Jake Deitrich ’14 following the ceremony.
In the photo above, Peter Bolte ’14 offers the student address during the 2014 Hobart Launch.