Commencement 2020

Gianna Gonzalez

Gianna Gonzalez '20
William Smith senior speech
Commencement 2020
June 6, 2021

Who else remembers choosing their FSEM? I remember reading through the list, just knowing my social life would be affected by the choice I made. Nonetheless, I was really into Marvel movies at the time, specifically Thor, so when I saw the title “Comparative Mythology” I thought, ”I am bound to meet some weirdos, but at least I’ll enjoy the class!” and I did. I met weirdos who are still some of my best friends today, like Hugh Nick Mckenny and Hannah Bassett, and really enjoyed the class. My FSEM professor, Laurence Erussard, quickly became my favorite person on campus, and the advisor for my English major.

Who else remembers the person who stood in front of or behind you when we lined up around this quad, waiting to shake President Gearan’s hand? I stood behind Kate Cox, but, funnily enough, I never really knew Kate, who is part of our graduating class today. So, hi Kate! I hope all is well.

I also remember that Ethan Luschen-Miskovsky was there-- I am not sure if he was a few people ahead, or directly behind, but I certainly remember how friendly and funny he was. Little did we know that we would go on to survive Music Theory 220 and the Colleges Chorale together- thank god for Ethan.

Who else remembers or can identify when they peaked? Embarrassingly enough, I think I do, and it happened when I was an OM my sophomore year. Gavin and I were part of the Spirit Squad and we stood on the corner by the HWS sign and screamed at the top of our lungs embarrassing new first years by trying to get their families to Honk for Hobart and Beep for the Herons! I met so many new faces in our class that weekend, like the fantastic Sammy Legg, and the one and only Dhiraj.

Who else remembers your first class on your first day of first year? In Intro to Writing and Rhetoric with Professor Green, I became fast friends with two girls who I am still obsessed with to this day, Anna Flaherty and Lauren Downes. Our boarding school connection made me feel like I was home, and they still feel like home to me today.

Who else remembers having your first class with your favorite professor? And then taking a new class and meeting your new favorite professor? And then graduating with like, maybe 5 or 10 favorite professors? Thank you to the Media and Society and English Departments, specifically my advisors Professor Erussard and Professor Burditt for guiding me in adding classes and professors to my favorites.

Who else remembers those people who it felt like you had every single class with? Whether it was Spanish, German, or Media and Society. Luke Millspaugh was always there for me- literally, from our first semester to senior year! Like many of you, I am sure that this list extends to way more than one person, so I have to add Kelsea Brown and Mallory Wright.

Who else remembers going abroad? Whether it was the excitement when you found out you got into the program of your dreams, the inevitable fear when you stepped off the plane, or how annoying it was to come back and you still weren’t 21. There was a mix of emotions that apparently “shaped me into who I am today.”

If you did or didn’t study abroad, do you remember how frustrating it was when your best friends studied abroad at a different time than you? Or how relieved and joyous you felt when we were all back together again Senior Fall?

Does anyone else remember when you met your best friend? I met Gavin Flood at the Variety Show at the Smith Opera House. He lived on J3, and I lived on J2, the best floor in JPR obviously, and we have been inseparable ever since, as you can tell since he followed me up here for this speech!

Did anyone else cry when they found out that they weren’t coming back after Spring Break? I certainly did, but I feel so lucky to have all of you here today, a year later, to show what the class of 2020 is all about. This is what I love about HWS and our class. There are so many of us here to show our love for HWS and Geneva. Even if we didn’t really know each other, or speak that often, we most likely all have a memory with almost everyone here. Thank you, to each of you, for the light and happiness that our small memories bring to me, and hopefully to you.