The crowd may have been significantly smaller, but the enthusiasm was just as great. With Colleges’ President Mark D. Gearan leading the procession in a piano rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance, the final 11 graduates of the Classes of 2007 were sent on their way during Monday’s Commencement Ceremony. The annual event, held in St. John’s Chapel, conferred degrees on student-athletes unable to attend Sunday’s Commencement. This year’s group included members of the HWS Crew team who competed at the ECAC Rowing Championships over the weekend in Whitney Point, N.Y.
“I’ve always thought that there are two points in our lives when we have more choice than at any other, that have more impact on our lives than any other, said Professor Scott McKinney, who gave the Faculty Address, “where to go to college, and where we go right after college. Other choices follow logically from what went before and are therefore constrained; but these two choices offer the possibility of the surprising and unexpected.
McKinney, of the economics and Latin American studies faculty and the Colleges’ NCAA Faculty Representative, remarked on the rapid geopolitical change since his own graduation in 1972 and the certainty of the same for today’s graduates. “What I want to suggest to you is the beautiful complexity of the world and the possibility for surprising outcomes, he said. “That the Cold War should have ended the way that it did was shocking to a generation that built its life around that enemy. That you can visit a fascinating and friendly Vietnam, whereas for me it was a battlefield, is a sign of hope in a changing and dangerous world.
Gearan’s Valedictory Address echoed many of the themes of the day before, referencing the dedication of the honorary degree recipients and their commitment to making the world a better place. It was “a description, he said, “of what I have observed in all of you these past four years.
Likewise, he challenged the seven Hobart and four William Smith students to dedicate themselves to great achievement. “Use your education wisely and ethically, he said, and cultivate “a sense of service and citizenship for the 21st Century. All of you have a unique opportunity to change the world.
Gearan urged the outgoing students to remember their alma mater. “Keep in touch with us, he said. “You’ve built an enormous legacy here and though the miles may distance us, we are closer than you think.
The Finger Lakes Times included a photograph from the ceremony in the Tuesday, May 15 issue. Check it out here.