Class of 2013: ‘Unfolding’
Each graduate has grown while at Guilford and that journey continues, Tim Leisman ’13 told more than 500 graduates gathered Saturday morning with family and friends on the lawn in front of King Hall.
Tim, who led the student government association for traditional-age students, took the title of his speech — “Unfolding” — from a letter Herman Melville wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
“Guilford has given us the tools to continue unfolding throughout life,” Tim said, “because through Guilford’s unique synthesis of Quaker values with liberal arts traditions, any in- or out-of-class experience, even a seemingly insignificant conversation, is both significant and serendipitous, because it prepares us to engage with all types of people around important issues.
“In a phrase, it teaches us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And so, however we came to Guilford and no matter our unique experiences, we leave as graduates who are empowered to be engaged citizens.”
Deanntré Brown, an adult student who finished her degree in December, also spoke on behalf of the graduating class, which includes students who completed degree requirements in summer 2012, fall 2012 and spring 2013. She recounted the challenges she faced, including a commute to campus by bus that took two hours each way.
It was almost overwhelming to study for tests and write papers while raising two young children, Deanntré said, but the desire to show her children the value of hard work kept her going. She learned to have faith that the seemingly endless work was bringing her closer to her goal of eventually becoming an attorney.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is great, but can you deal with mining through the dirt until you see it?” asked her classmates. “You honestly have to believe that those everyday tasks, some more challenging than others, are really putting you closer to your goal.”
Invited speaker Jeff Thigpen ’93, Guilford County’s register of deeds and a former admission office staff member, reflected on his life-changing experience at the College and urged the Class of 2013 to apply what they’ve learned at Guilford to make the world a better place.
“We believe in you,” Jeff told graduates in his remarks, “From Gradumageddon to On Point.”
“The staff and faculty believe in you. Your friends and family believe in you.
“Believe in yourselves. Take the lead. Go out into the world and make it happen!”
In his Charge to the Class of 2013, President Kent Chabotar explored stewardship, one of the College’s Core Values. He encouraged graduates to be role models, steeples of inspiration focused on others.
“So, Class of 2013, show the world what you can do. Show yourselves, too,” Kent said. “As President Kennedy advised, don’t try to blame the past but accept your own responsibility for the future. Don’t let the light go out.
“Be such good stewards that decades from now, people will pause and remember your accomplishments with admiration and gratitude. Be such good stewards that no one will doubt that you cared, you did your best and that your lives truly mattered.”