Before heading off across the globe to attend graduate school, participate in Fulbrights or start new jobs, HWS seniors gather for a long standing tradition – dinner on the Houghton Lawn.
"It’s bittersweet," says senior Gil Vargas. "At the same time, it's a truly joyous occasion."
Dressed in formal attire, the Classes of 2008 gather for an elegant dinner on the Houghton Lawn, share stories from their time at the Colleges, make final plans for their last days on campus, and enjoy every moment of time together.
"The thing that I'm looking forward to the most about tonight is Kevin Dunn's speech," said Sloane Whalen '08 of Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn, who the seniors nominated as their faculty speaker.
"Every time I've heard him speak, Professor Dunn always has been funny yet insightful and interesting," said Cristina Bain '08.
During the opening of his speech, Dunn told seniors that, "Over the next few days, a lot of people will be giving you life lessons. I figured that I would also offer you some things I learned between graduating college and now."
Using stories from his own life, from giving up a lucrative job so he could keep his long hair to always making time to paint and play his bass, Dunn gave seniors four life lessons: Keep reading. Stick to your principles. Do lots of different things after graduation. And, perhaps most importantly, your job does not define you.
Thinking through Dunn's words, seniors walked to the Sunken Gardens, where they were greeted by President Mark D. Gearan.
"It is my honor and great pleasure to propose a toast to the Classes of 2008," Gearan said. "On behalf of all administrators, faculty and staff—many of whom are here tonight—I want to tell you all that you leave behind a community that is truly grateful to you for all that you have contributed inside the classroom, on the field, in the lab, on service sites and abroad."