Mini-Commencement, 2003 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Mini-Commencement, 2003

Hobart and William Smith Colleges honor their student-athletes in a special ceremony.

May 12, 2003 GENEVA, N.Y. — St. John’s Chapel was filled today with family, friends, teammates, coaches, faculty and staff members as nine Hobart and William Smith Colleges student-athletes participated in “Mini-Commencement, 2003.” The crowd gave a standing ovation and hearty applause as the graduates filed in, accompanied by Colleges President Mark D. Gearan, who played “Pomp and Circumstance” on the piano.

Chaplain Lesley Adams welcomed the gathering in prayer, and reminding the graduates of all they had to be thankful for: winning teams, requirements met, and those who were in attendance.

President Gearan then addressed the group with an abbreviated version of the Valedictory speech he delivered at Sunday’s Commencement. He did specifically address the student-athletes with a story told by Rabbi Harold Kushner in his book “Living a Life that Matters.”

“Rabbi Kushner said that the decision between right and wrong is not the most common,” Gearan said. “More often it is the decision between two rights, two values we believe in, that comes most into conflict.” The student-athletes were faced with a difficult choice: to represent their college at the NCAA Division III lacrosse tournament in Maryland and the crew meet in New Jersey, or to attend yesterday’s Commencement. “You chose the one that was right for you,” Gearan said of their decision to participate in athletic contests.

Provost Patricia Stranahan, a noted China scholar, then delivered a Chinese folk tale titled “The Foolish Old Man Who Moved the Mountain,” a fable in which an old man’s determination to remove mountains through hard work and conviction is rewarded.

“You and those of your generation have the opportunity and talent to change the world,” Stranahan reminded the graduates. “I ask you today to become Foolish Old Men (and women) committed to making the world a better place for all people.”

The William Smith Herons lacrosse team won last weekend’s tournament to advance to the NCAA Division III Women’s lacrosse Final Four, to be held May 17 and 18 at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. The Hobart crew team took silver in last weekend’s contests, and the women advanced to the third level finals.

Student-athletes participating in today’s Commencement were: from William Smith lacrosse Emily Durki of Canton, N.Y.; Shana Hawrylchak of Altamont, N.Y.; Brigid Lynch of Manhasset, N.Y.; Megan Shea of Doylestown, Pa.; Jaclyn Toner of Geneva, N.Y.; and Amanda Wynn of Aspen, Colo.

The graduating crew members include Heather Hawkins of Eagan, Minn.; Kevin Stevenson of Burlington, Vt.; and David Undercoffler of Canandaigua, N.Y.


The Finger Lakes Times ran this story in the May 13 issue.