Tag Archive for reunion and commencement

Shackney ’17 Delivers Senior Class Welcome


Elizabeth Shackney ’17 delivered the following remarks during Wesleyan’s 185th commencement ceremony on May 28.

Good morning. My name is Lizzie Shackney, and today I will graduate with the Class of 2017.

I realized what Wesleyan meant to me as I packed up my room yesterday and noticed three similar titles on my single shelf of books: How Should a Person Be?, On Becoming a Person, and How to Be a Person in the World, all acquired in the past four years. My time at Wesleyan, it seems, has been about learning how to be and become a person. Of course, I’ve always been a person. But it was just me, alone. Being here meant understanding, adjusting, and navigating my personhood in a sea of other identities. Like molecules in a heated state, we bounced around and sometimes crashed into one another, creating energy and pressure that could be both productive and exhausting.

A lot can change, a lot can happen, when it’s no longer just you. Wesleyan is a place where, after an hours-long conversation with an unexpected friend, a cloudy part of your world becomes clearer. It is where you can accomplish that thing that you didn’t think was for people like you, where you find a home with others telling stories or flying drones or opening up about grief. Despite the abundance of closeness and connection, sometimes Wesleyan can be paradoxically lonely. Sometimes it is a breeding ground for frustration or uncertainty. Sometimes, we worry that we are too much for the people around us.

In the messiness of our time here, we are forced to ask ourselves: What does it mean to exist as a human being among others? How do I do it? And how do I do it well?

Those books I mentioned haven’t given me comprehensive answers. Wesleyan hasn’t either. but it has helped to move me forward. What I do know now is this: The key to being a person within a community lies at the intersection of accountability and belonging. Accountability means taking responsibility for the fact that what you do and what you say has an impact. I felt this most as a student government leader, as I realized that my work wasn’t just about doing what I believed was best; instead, I engaged with members of my community and learned through trial and error to speak with, and not for or over, my peers.

At the same time, becoming a person is facilitated by feeling that you belong somewhere, by believing that you will be loved even if you make a mistake. When you drove ten hours to my dad’s funeral in the middle of the summer; when you watched me dance, play tennis, or tell a joke and still let me hang around—many big and tiny memories remind me that here, I have been loved. Those moments when I felt most that I belonged were also when I felt most committed to the betterment of this community. A sense of belonging is sustained by accountability, and accountability relies upon a foundation of care.

Today, we celebrate where we have been, where we will go next, and the lives that we will lead there. But I hope that beyond all of our accomplishments, we find new places where we can belong, and where we can create a sense of belonging for others, too.

Today, I am grateful for the many ways in which you have taught me to live well within a community. It’s been a pleasure to be, belong, and become alongside all of you.

Thank you.

Driscolls Honored with 2017 Baldwin Medal

John and Gina Driscoll.

During the commencement ceremony, John ’62 and Gina Driscoll, at left, received the Baldwin Medal. The Baldwin Medal is the highest award of the Alumni Association.(Photo by Olivia Drake)

During the 185th commencement ceremony on May 28, John ’62 and Gina Driscoll were honored with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal, the highest award of the Alumni Association. John and Gina have each provided exemplary service to Wesleyan for more than three decades, during which they have been truly remarkable ambassadors of goodwill. Among Freeman Asian Scholars, their names are synonymous with devoted friendship and unstinting support. For many years the Driscolls traveled extensively throughout Asia with the late Houghton “Buck” ’43 and Doreen Hon. ’03 Freeman P’77 to interview prospective Freeman scholars. The Freeman Driscoll Endowed International Scholarship was named in their honor.

Kadets, Kwon, Williams, Reyes Deliver Senior Voices, Hatch Gives Faculty Reflection

Lili Kadets ’17, Haneah Kwon ’17, Arnelle Williams ’17, and Mika Reyes ’17 delivered “Senior Voices” addresses on May 27 in Memorial Chapel. Anthony Hatch, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of African American studies, delivered the faculty reflection. Below are the text of their speeches:

Register for Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 19-22

All alumni are welcome to walk in the annual parade of classes during Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

All alumni and members of the Class of 2016 are welcome to walk in the annual parade of classes during Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

Registration for Wesleyan’s Reunion & Commencement Weekend is open! (Register online here prior to May 6.)

Reunite with old classmates during R&C Weekend.

Reunite with former classmates during R&C Weekend.

From May 19-22, alumni, parents, students and families can participate in reunion gatherings, a festival on Foss Hill, WesSeminars, THIS IS WHY campaign dedications and celebrations, stargazing, a conversation with President Michael Roth ’78, a parade of classes, an all-campus college sing and campus party, the 184th Commencement Ceremony and much more. View the entire schedule of events online here.

Classes celebrating their reunions are those ending in a “1” or “6,” and the weekend celebrates the graduating class of 2016. All alumni planning to attend are requested to register.

The Class of 2016 will graduate during the Commencement Ceremony May 22.

The Class of 2016 will graduate during the Commencement Ceremony May 22.

Wesleyan Awards 799 BA Degrees at 183rd Commencement

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

New graduates toss hats following the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Graduates, their families, and other members of the Wesleyan community who gathered for the 183rd Commencement ceremony on May 24 were treated to some life advice in the form of rap, courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, this year’s Commencement speaker and the composer, lyricist and star of the hip-hop musical Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

“I’m going to sing a little bit, so if you made a bet that I’d be rapping during the Commencement address, your friend owes you money,” Miranda joked.

He drew upon the stories of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to discuss two different approaches to life: charging forward in the spirit of Hamilton—”I’m not throwing away my shot”—versus holding out for just the right moment to take action–“Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.”

Miranda spoke of falling in love with the “instant gratification” of theater at Wesleyan.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 Delivers Commencement Address

The 183rd Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

The 183rd Commencement Ceremony took place on Andrus Field, with Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 delivering the Commencement address on May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 made the following remarks at the 183rd Commencement ceremony May 24:

Thank you, President Roth, Provost, Board of Trustees, faculty, students, families. Wes Wings, Thai Gardens and Neon Deli.

As I look across the sea of proud, sleepy graduates, who just hours ago were turnt all the way up in the tent where your families now sit—seriously, your grandmother is sitting where YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID—I can’t help but wish I had been asked to be your freshman orientation speaker instead. Over the course of your time here, you have learned innumerable lessons, large and small, but I could have saved you a few of them. So, future graduates on Foss Hill, are you here? Consider this your post-frosh orientation advice.

Remarks for Honorary Degree Recipient Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75

Beverly Daniel Tatum '75, P'04 received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04 received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, president of Spelman College, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on May 24. She delivered the following remarks:

eve_ruc_2015-0524115145Thank you, President Roth and the Board of Trustees, the faculty, for this wonderful honor. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be here – especially on the occasion of the 40th reunion of the Class of 1975! The years I spent at Wesleyan were transformative for me, and when I left Wesleyan, I was a confident young woman with a clear career plan.

I planned to go off to graduate school, earn my Ph.D.

Remarks for Honorary Degree Recipient Michael Price

Michael Price received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters this year on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Michael Price, at right, received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at left. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Honorary Degree Recipient Michael Price made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24: 

My children would say this is an awesome moment.  For me, being on this platform amongst such a distinguished assemblage is somewhere between exhilaration and terror. I now know how an actor feels on opening night, excited, honored and hoping not to fall off the stage.

President Roth and the Wesleyan Community, thank you for this very special honor. To the class of 2015, I am thrilled and grateful to share this day with you, and to be in the company of Beverly Daniel Tatum and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

President Roth Makes Remarks to the Class of 2015

Wesleyan President Michael Roth speaks during Commencement.

“Diversity, equality, education…these are ideals shared by generations of Wesleyan alumni,” President Roth said. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24: 

Members of the board of trustees, members of the faculty and staff, distinguished guests, new recipients of graduate degrees and the mighty class of 2015, I am honored to present some brief remarks on the occasion of this commencement.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, I begin by asking us all to take a moment to remember the men and women who have died while serving in the American armed forces. In recent years, military conflicts far from our own shores have cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians. Regardless of our political views, we stop on this Memorial Day weekend to remember these losses.

Greetings for the Senior Class from Marissa Castrigno ’15

Marissa Castrigno '15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

Marissa Castrigno ’15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. (Photo by Rick Ciaburri)

Marissa Castrigno ’15 made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24:

I feel immensely lucky to be able to stand here and see so many people that I love all in one place – so many people that love each other all in one place. My favorite college memory was on this very balcony two years ago when I sat with my best friend on its wide ledge and we spoke candidly for the first time about those private things that motivate and shape each of us. In that moment, among others during my first year here, I knew that transferring to Wesleyan had been the best decision I’d ever made for myself. Now my biggest fear is that we will go forth from this place and lose Wesleyan and all that it has afforded us. But I’d like to suggest today is not a day of loss, rather it is a day from which we become more expansive than we ever could be living together on our idyllic little campus.

We are taught to challenge this place. To examine it, analyze it, criticize it. During our time here we learn that the world is a deeply imperfect place and often this truth disillusions us.

Calter, Schorr, Ulysse Honored with Binswanger Prizes; Dachs ’70 Receives Baldwin Medal

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second of left) and Daphne Kwok '84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association 9fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

Wesleyan President Michael Roth (second from left) and Daphne Kwok ’84, chair of the Wesleyan Alumni Association (fifth from left) presented The Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Gina Athena Ulysse (at left), Michael Calter and David Schorr. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

 

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs '70, Hon '07, P'98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

President Michael Roth awarded Alan Dachs ’70, Hon ’07, P’98 with the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal on May 24. (Photo by John Van Vlack)

During the 183rd Commencement ceremony, President Michael Roth awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching to three faculty, and the Raymond E. Baldwin Medal to an alumnus.

Three outstanding teachers are recognized annually with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This year, President Michael Roth honored Michael Calter, David Schorr and Gina Athena Ulysse for their excellence in teaching.

The prizes are made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, and underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the university’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.