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PSS Summer '12

New Alums Called Upon to Dream Big

Savannah Guthrie

Savannah Guthrie L.H.D. ’12, co-host and chief legal analyist of
NBC’s Today Show.

“Now is not the time to settle,” said Savannah Guthrie, co- host and chief legal analyst of NBC’s TODAY show, as she delivered the 2012 Commencement Address on the Hobart Quad. During the 187th graduation for Hobart and the 101st for William Smith, Guthrie offered advice to 470 students who received their undergraduate degrees as well as eight MAT students.

“The problem with all of us sometimes is we think of all the reasons we can’t do something before we even try. We think small, so that we might succeed at that small dream we set out for ourselves, in order to avoid failure,” she said. “Think of what you might accomplish if you directed all that compelling, forceful energy to convincing yourself why you can do it.”

Guthrie concluded by asking the graduates to thank their families for their support and shared what she wished she could have told herself as a graduating student: “Even when it looks like you’ve accomplished your dream, sometimes that just means a whole new set of fears and worries and insecurities crop up... And here’s a goal for real life, worth setting and then striving for daily: to be thankful, whatever your circumstances, every step of the way.”

In his Valedictory Address, President Mark D. Gearan noted the Classes of 2012 have “lived in remarkable times.” He cited such significant events as 9/11; technological advancements and the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression as changes that have taken a toll on society in recent years. In doing so, he urged graduates to “fight the forces of skepticism and cynicism,” in part by looking at the exemplary lives of the honorary degree recipients.

Gearan concluded the Commencement ceremony by leaving graduates with a charge, “to utilize the privilege of your newly- minted degrees, an honor only one percent of our world enjoys, to build communities, challenge assumptions and think critically for the betterment of our society.”

Student speakers, Isaias Garcia ’12 and Grace Hunt ’12, also addressed the crowd of students, family and friends on the Hobart Quad.

Garcia shared lessons learned from his late mother, whose emphasis on the importance of education in realizing his dreams propelled Garcia to earn his degree and make the most of his time at HWS.

Hunt reflected on the new perspectives gained throughout four years of college and the many memories graduates will take from these years. “As we ready ourselves to leave this beautiful little enclave - together - to lead lives of consequence, let us remember that there is beauty in change,” she said.