You came here for the most part almost four years ago: from all over the world, one from Georgia in the Caucuses, two from Cyprus, three from Pakistan; and many from all over the United States, including Minnesota (45); New York (21); and even Winchester, Massachusetts (1). Twenty eight of you transferred here from other schools. Benjamin is the most common name among you with Emily a close second. One of you had a perfect score (800) on both the Verbal and Math SATs. Two of you, Andrew Lippman and Laura Goffman, were born on this day in May.
While you were here you did great things. More of you majored in Political Science than any other subject; 162 of you participated in an off campus study program. One of you completed a Mentored Advanced Project entitled Possession and Mysticism and another completed one entitled Receptors from Zebrafish. You filed 1963 drop forms and more amazingly ELEVEN of you never dropped or withdrew from a course. Five of you took more than 18 music courses while majoring in a science. More of you took a course from Emily Moore than any other faculty member and, consistent with that, more of you took one or more courses in Mathematics than in any other department although patriotism leads me to add that History was not far behind.
You did a lot of other things while you were here. You won (men and women) eight conference championships in swimming and received a number of individual honors in other athletic events like the steeplechase. You dreamed of a world with no limits and a politics of No shame. You campaigned and voted in a pivotal presidential election. You acted in plays, danced in recitals, played in octets, and performed on our rededicated organ. You read important books and Twittered endlessly and mindlessly.
All was not sweetness and light. You had your ups and downs. You lost some classmates and friends through disputes and normal social development. Some of you suffered family losses and learned about coping with sadness and tragedy like the deaths of Whitney Hendrickson and Chris Hade.
You marveled at our wonderful Earth; the glorious heavens above and the fields of golden grain and soybeans around us. You struggled to make sense of where our global civilization is and where it might go. And you did some partying and other things not known to a president precisely but easily imagined.
In all of this you impressed and sometimes changed us and each other. You brought energy and fresh vision to a College coming up on the end of its second century.
And now it is time for your departure (or at least for most of you to depart) and this is hard and sad but also joyous and wonderful.
As you leave, we ask to remember your time here and this place and how both are part of you and we hope you will come back. But even if you don't ever or for a while we ask to heed the words of the College's mission statement that you be: " prepared in your life and work to use your knowledge and abilities to serve the common good." God bless you, your families and your life every day and may you see your life as a gift, a treasure, and an ennobling but sometimes tortuous journey to something better.