A college education begins a process of discovery that continues long after graduation. As faculty speaker and Assistant Professor of Music Mark Olivieri told graduating seniors during the annual Senior Dinner, “There are no short-cuts to being awesome. I am here to encourage you to not be tethered to an idea of what you ‘should be’ doing…Do not be afraid to reinvent yourself.”
After the traditional procession from the steps of Coxe Hall, led by President Mark D. Gearan, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata, William Smith Dean Catherine Gallouët, Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 and Mary Herlihy Gearan, the senior classes gathered on the Houghton House grounds for an evening of celebration and reflection.
Echoing Olivieri’s ideas about the possibilities of the future, in her remarks, Gallouët noted that “thresholds are places of knowing and not knowing. We must stand tall as others have before us. We are ready to walk forward and create our own legacy.”
During his remarks, Baer reflected on the ways in which the Classes of 2017 have embodied the courage in the face of the unknown. “I have to tell you something you may not know,” he said. “I am learning every single day from you. I am learning from your generosity, your openness to new ideas. I will miss you dearly.”
Senior Class Presidents Elizabeth “Biz” Chirco ‘17 and James Mandart ’17 congratulated their classmates for their many successes and, as Mandart put it, called upon them now to “make your mark on the world.”
Later, in Bartlett Theatre, the graduating Classes gathered for the Presidential Toast and to enjoy one of the final performances from the President’s Garage Band, a staple of Senior Week since 2007.
Gearan, who will conclude his tenure as HWS president soon after Commencement, took the opportunity during his final Presidential Toast to seniors to remind them that no matter what is to come, the common bond of Hobart and William Smith is an enduring one.
“The bonds of friendship that you feel around these tables and that you see around this room—in the coming years, my hope is that you’ll nurture that,” Gearan said. “That you’ll stay in touch, that you’ll guard and guide the kind of feelings that you have tonight for Hobart and William Smith and the friendships here.”
The band’s rousing set included hits like “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Headed by Gearan on the keyboard, this year’s lineup included Associate Professor of English Rob Carson (guitar), Sodexo cook Joe Calabrese (guitar), Professor of Biology Mark Deutschlander (guitar), community member Paul Quartaro (drums) and Professor of Economics Bill Waller (trumpet). Singers included: Baer, HWS Gospel Choir Director Patrisha Blue ’77, Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman, Gallouët, Associate Professor Chemistry Justin Miller, community member Dave Rogers, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology Jim Spates P’00, P’09 and Director of Digital Learning Stanley Weaver.