Members of the Classes of 2014, their families and HWS community members took time to pause and consider the many connections they have made, and which exist in the world, during the traditional Baccalaureate Ceremony held in Trinity Church on Saturday, May 17.
“Now is the time for reflection,” said HWS Chaplain Lesley Adams during the ceremony’s welcoming remarks. “You can reflect on the connections you made here, give thanks for the web of support that will always be here for you and for the connections that will stay with you.”
A tradition dating to eighth-century England, the HWS community has practiced the Baccalaureate Ceremony for more than 180 years. It serves as an important moment to reflect on one’s past, present and future, particularly for the graduating Classes.
During her Baccalaureate address, “Dimensions of Lunch,” William Smith Dean and Professor of History Susanne McNally HON’14 stressed the many connections that are made through the sharing of food. McNally referred to lunch as a “temporal connection,” noting whenever we eat we are getting “gifts from people in the past.”
Making note of the many influences that intersect food, from the sun’s rays to energy created and stored over time, McNally explained how her goal is to create a sustainable food system. An expert in the local food movement, she offered advice on how to achieve that aim, including eating more plants and less animals, and eating mostly in season, some local food and some organic.
“If a lot of us were to even begin to move down this path, all those dimensions of lunch I talked about would improve: health, environment, farmers and field workers worldwide, would all benefit,” McNally said. Her message to students was not simply to take steps to begin to change the world food system, but also to consider that which is important to them in the world.
“Whatever you elect to care about you can influence it,” she said. The important thing, she told them, is to “just begin.”
During the service, soon-to-be graduates Amira Abdulkadir ’14, Andrew Hellmund ’14, Donte Taylor ’14 and Hannah Sorgi ’14 shared their own connections to the people, places and ideas gained while attending HWS. They each offered inspiring personal reflections, poems and readings.
Under the direction of Professor of Music Bob Cowles, the Colleges Chorale sang four pieces during the service.
President Mark D. Gearan, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata, and Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07 also offered remarks during the ceremony. The closing prayer was given by Director of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life Lorinda Weinstock. Midlakes Brass with Jeff Stempien and Jim Trowbridge P’10, played several pieces during the program prelude.