Nick Donovan

Nick Donovan '15
Commencement Speech
May 17, 2015

When we all were younger we were told that we had to chase something. It could have been a parent, a sibling, a role model, athletics, a career, or a dream. As we’ve grown up that person, career, or dream may have changed slightly but we are still chasing something. We all arrived here at HWS four years ago because we were on the next step of that chase. This institution represented the next part of the racetrack, that next turn. Each one of us brought our own chase to Hobart and William Smith and, in our pursuits, proceeded to make an undeniable impression on this institution. We all tried to finish our chase during four years here. There were parents to make proud, jobs to be had, grad schools to attend, branches of the government to join, or new adventures waiting once we received our degrees. My chase has had me following two things and has enlightened me to all the amazing things this school, and being a part of this class, has afforded me.

One of the first major chases I embarked on was one close to home. As I grew up I watched someone teach me the power of a good joke, how to respect people, how to be humble, and how to give back to your community. He became all the values that I so deeply wanted to emulate and the man I always wanted to be. That man is sitting with my wonderful mother and brother amongst you all today, he’s my father Michael Donovan. When I arrived here my first year and stood upon these steps for matriculation I was scared. I’d met a bunch of awesome students hiking in the Adirondacks for the POAP program and was constantly meeting more new people through the first day. Questions like will these people like me? Are we all feeling like this? What will the next four years bring? Constantly floated through my mind. I thought back to a little piece of advice my Dad gave me before I left. He told me to “Be nice, be willing, and be yourself. Everything else will sort itself out.” That’s something I think is embodied in this class as a whole. We all are willing to meet someone new whether it is in class, on a sports team, or just around campus somebody will greet you with a smile. We all have distinct personalities that show through every day and make our class unique. Whether we are activists for change, jokesters, athletes, volunteer firefighters, fraternity members, environmentalists, artists, or anything else you could classify someone as we all understand when our class needs to work together. I’ve truly been humbled by the amazing classmates I have and their ability to just accept others with open hearts and arms. Due to the ability to accept others that has been fostered at the school we will do amazing things as a class because someone will strike up a conversation and make something happen.

Your ideal job changes constantly through your life, mine is no different. At first I wanted to be a zoologist but that wasn’t attainable because I didn’t like biology. Then I wanted to be an economist but frankly calculus has never been my strong suit. After some thinking freshman year and the Boston Marathon bombings I went back to a brief dream I had when I was younger. I wanted to work for the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, or another government law enforcement branch. Studying Political Science here has made that dream a very possible reality. Furthermore it exposed me to discussion based classes which brought out the best of our class. We can debate yet concede when we are wrong. Our research and coursework is done to the best of our ability because we care so deeply about what we are studying. We’ve been published in the fields of Political Science, Psychology, and Chemistry amongst others. To those going on to grad school it brings me great pride seeing some of you accepted into some of the top Law, Dentistry, and Medical programs in the country. We all are chasing a career and have used our time here to make sure that we are in a good position for the future.

Everybody sitting in this crowd right now is chasing something. All of us are chasing someone, some career, or some dream. But what our time here at Hobart and William Smith has done is made sure that we are prepared to take the next part of our chase. We have the interpersonal skills to move ourselves forward. Our career dreams are always within reach because of how we apply ourselves and due to how much we love our respective fields. As we all receive our degrees and prepare to leave this beautiful place we have been blessed to call home the past four years we should keep our heads up. Our chases are that much closer to being completed here so that the next chase can begin. Thank you for letting me be a part of your class 2015. Go out there and keep chasing what makes you tick.