As this year’s faculty speaker for the annual Senior Dinner, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Thomas Drennen broke down the key factors of life: humility, investing, pirate jokes, staying in touch and passion: “Don’t get stuck unless you love your job. You have to do what you’re passionate about and where you can make a difference.”
The evening began with the traditional procession for the Classes of 2018 led by Interim President Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D. ’13, Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 and William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P’22 from the steps of Coxe Hall to the Houghton House grounds for celebration and reflection as Commencement approaches. More coverage on Commencement 2018, including photo galleries and videos can be found here.
“Just as you have experienced the past four years together, just as you will experience Commencement together, the memories you make this week and the common bonds you have shared as Hobart and William Smith students will endure as each of you make your own way into the world beyond this campus as Hobart and William Smith alumni and alumnae,” McGuire said. “That world may seem like a big, chaotic place and in many ways it is, but you will find it’s full of surprises and wonder that remind us of just how connected we all are.”
The bonds for the Classes of 2018 run particularly deep, a characteristic also noted by Kaenzig. “Every year, every semester, you’ve made the choice to stay part of this community, and more than that— you’ve raised your voices for change over and over again,” said Kaenzig. “Whether it was singing in the Gearan Center or leading the Women’s March, there have been so many examples of the ways you have raised your voices because you have cared about this place and you wanted to make it better. I do not worry about you. You have chosen this place and we are all better for it.”
Senior Class Presidents Micaela Carney ’18 and Isaiah Young ’18 also said farewell in their final public address to their classmates. “Keep your friends close as we transition to this next chapter of our lives. Remember to stay in touch because we’ve made some of the best friends here and we are proud to know you,” said Young, who will graduate on Sunday with a bachelor’s in political science.
Carney, who will graduate summa cum laude both Spanish and educational studies, continued with hopes for her friends and peers: “Try new things. Explore. Discover and follow your passions.”
The Senior Dinner was the last for Baer, who retires this year after 47 years at the Colleges. “I want to say goodbye to you with a simple wish: may you always find purpose in the unique circumstances of your life,” Baer remarked, followed by a standing ovation from students, faculty and staff.
Later in Bartlett Theatre, the Classes of 2018 gathered for a performance from the student band St. Clair and the Senior Toast, delivered this year by McGuire and Mary Herlihy Gearan L.H.D. ’17, P’21 to thunderous applause.
“I want to thank you for all the ways you’ve made HWS and Geneva a better place,” said Gearan, who returns with President Emeritus Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17, P’21 this weekend at the request of the senior class. “Cherish your HWS friendships. They will make you stronger. You’ll need them and they will need you.”