More Than 500 Receive Degrees
Commencement exercises for the Class of 2012 were held May 5.
“This is a big day, and it is an important one to celebrate,” Patti Digh ’82 said, “but truthfully … those quiet moments with people you love are far more meaningful and memorable and grounding in the long run.”
In her talk, The Geography of Verbs, the writer, teacher, speaker and social justice activist encouraged her audience to care for others, make a new path and be aware that we are all part of an intricate ecosystem. “All of these require love: love for others, love for yourself and love for community,” said Patti, who gave each of the graduates a copy of her book What I Wish for You.
“As the great 21st century philosopher, Johnny Depp, has said, ‘There are four questions of value in life … What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.’ Love is the most important verb.”
Student speakers Justin Kirchner ’12 and Tiffany Kallam ’12 urged their classmates to share the lessons learned at Guilford with the rest of the world.
Justin recalled significant events from the past four years, including the election of Barack Obama and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “But Guilford isn’t about witnessing history. It’s about making it,” he said. “Here we’re taught to be agents of change, embodying our seven core values as we make a difference in the world.”
Read Justin’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Tiffany recalled the challenges that were overcome to reach graduation. “To your right and left are graduates that have known struggle,” she told the Class of 2012. “Writing papers by candlelight because the power has been cut off, digging in the bottom of kitchen drawers for change to make it to class … to make change.”
She also issued a call to action. “Today we face a sometimes cruel, unfair and unrelenting world. And yes, we have done great things, but it is important that we don’t shy away from the responsibilities and urgency of things to be done. So, my fellow Guilfordians, it’s time to unleash our hearts, our minds and our beauty on the rest of the world. It needs us.”
Read Tiffany’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
In his charge to the class, President Kent Chabotar spoke about diversity, one of the College’s seven core values. He urged graduates to remember their own fallibility, avoid groupthink, dump stereotypes, seek out people with different beliefs and protect the rights of others to be different. “Your Guilford College education has been about not just knowledge and skills but also getting out of your comfort zone to be someone willing to change and eager to become better,” he said.
Read Kent’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Students who completed degree requirements in summer and fall 2011 and spring 2012 were included in the commencement exercises of the College’s 175th academic year.
Photos from commencement are on the College’s Facebook page.