Posted on Friday, May 13, 2011
With only days left until graduation, the Classes of 2011 took a moment in the midst of Senior Week to relax and reflect on their time at the Colleges during the traditional Senior Dinner. The dinner held on Houghton House lawn brought together students with the faculty, staff and members of the HWS community who have been integral to fostering the college experience.
"You have received an education from every nook and cranny of this institution," remarked William Smith Dean Cerri Banks HON'09. "Now the question is, what are you going to do with it? Use it to make the world a better place; make education a lifelong endeavor."
Dean of Hobart Eugen Baer HON'07, P'95, P'97 also offered his words of wisdom - in three languages - advising students to find a reason to get up and out of bed - and enjoy - each day. "At Hobart and William Smith you have learned about lives of purpose. It is difficult to pinpoint what your purpose is, but one thing is certain - the purpose of each of our lives is unique and different," said Baer. "I urge you to think about the uniqueness of your experience when you go into the world."
Class Presidents Kelly Biggs '11 and John Peck '11 thanked their classmates for making the past four years at HWS ones to remember, and led a toast to the seniors. As is traditional, a student-elected member of the faculty addressed the soon-to-be graduates. This year, Professor of Sociology Jack Harris P'02, P'06 joined the dinner to congratulate the seniors.
Harris spoke of the Colleges' history and the beauty of the campus and surrounding Finger Lakes. Citing the many accomplishments of the men, such as Bishop Hobart and William Smith, and women, such as Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell who made history by becoming the first woman doctor, Harris spoke of the "enigmatic geographical forces," that seem to play a role in the great success of HWS students.
Just as this area is a great source of national pride as the home of the women's movement and abolition, Harris notes that the graduating seniors have added to this legacy - and will continue to do so. "There is much for us to be proud about, and you will make us proud as you go forward," noted Harris.
"You have made a lasting impact through your actions and your leadership, through your service to the community in Geneva and abroad. Don't stop now," urged Harris. "Just as it says across Demarest Hall, 'You are the hope of the world.' We have seen the best of you, and it is the best of you that is leaving us."
Following the dinner, the Classes of 2011 adjourned to the Vandervort Room for the annual President's Toast. During the celebration, President Mark D. Gearan congratulations the continued success of the graduating class, and joined fellow HWS faculty and staff for a performance by the President's Garage Band.
A Commencement tradition, the performance of this year’s garage band featured the members of the student band “The Scope” including Sarik Kumar ’11 on guitar, Andrew Mahoney '11 on drums and Andrew Tarnas-Raskan '11 on bass guitar. Also on stage were Instructor of Philosophy Rodman King on guitar, Professor of Economics Bill Waller P’99, P’04 on trumpet, Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman on lead tamborine, and President Mark D. Gearan on keyboards. Vocals were provided by Dean Eugen Baer HON ’07, P’95 and P’97, Dean Cerri Banks HON ’09, Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouet, Driver Dave Rogers, Class of 1964 Endowed Professor of Sociology James Spates, Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier and Information Technologist Stan Weaver. Special vocal guests included Sodexo Employee Betty Walther HON’10 and seniors Kelly Biggs and Matt Holden.
In the photo above, after the Senior Dinner at Houghton House, with the excitement of Commencement in the air, the Classes of 2011 packed into the Vandervort Room to hear some of their favorite professors, administrators and staff members rock out with classics like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and The Supreme’s “Stop in the Name of Love.