“Four Years in a Moment” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

“Four Years in a Moment”

Baccalaureate Gives Pause for Reflection

During the 2008 Baccalaureate Service, graduating seniors and their families and friends all found a haven from the mounting anxieties that accompany any major transition.

“With many different reasons for coming this afternoon, I invite you all to stop, slow down, breathe deeply and really appreciate the change taking place not only for the graduates but for all of you,” said Colleges Chaplain Rev. Lesley Adams.

Continuing Adams’ message of change and reflection, Colleges community members, including seniors Musawar Ahma, Felipe Estefan, Evan Brown and Tonnica Thomas, read a range sacred texts and poems designed to help the audience—and themselves—reflect on their life’s journey. Between meditative readings, the MidLakes Brass ensemble, members of the Colleges Chorale and Colleges’ Organist MaryAnn Hamilton performed contemplative musical pieces.

The service culminated with an address by The Right Reverend Jack McKelvey, the retiring bishop of Rochester and a long time member of the HWS Board of Trustees, who spoke on “Some Thoughts and Behaviors to Covet.” To the surprise and amusement of the audience gathered in Trinity Church, McKelvey began his address by listing strange things he’s found at pulpits through his career, including a fire extinguisher, a wristwatch and a neon tennis racket. When the laughter died down, McKelvey said, “At this baccalaureate we turn toward the future as the future too quickly becomes the present, and four years – four years happens in a moment. And the purpose, then, of this address is to take this moment to think, reflect and wonder.”

McKelvey shared wisdom gained during more than 40 years as an ordained minister – from not being afraid to ask stupid questions to living your life with room for surprises.”I encourage you all to live in this particular state of mind as you enter into your futures,” said McKelvey, who will retire at the end of May.

“I know I certainly will.” With dinner plans, travel arrangements and Commencement ahead of them, graduating seniors in attendance appreciated the opportunity to slow down for a moment and let McKelvey’s lessons sink in.

“The concept of life as a journey came up toward the beginning of the service and continued to come up as a common thread throughout,” said Meredith Eppers ’08.”I am struck by the notion of ‘the journey,’ and I look forward to the surprises that are ahead of me.”

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