Wess Daniels, William R. Rogers Director of the Friends Center, shares opening remarks at Commencement 2022 (as prepared for the event).
Good morning! Look at all you beautiful people. Class of 2022. We are all so proud of you.
To friends and family gathered here with us, I want to welcome you to Guilford College on this beautiful if rainy morning.
Graduates, we gather with you today to affirm and give gratitude for each and every one of you.
Before we get there though, let’s first stop, and just take a deep breath together and relax into this moment.
Will you join me in prayer?
As we join together on land that has been a place of learning, friendship and love, wish to acknowledge and honor the Native People of this land who cared for it long ago: the Keyauwee [Key-a-Wee], Saura [Sar-a], and Saponi [Sa-pony] Peoples, some of whom maintain a strong presence in this area, caring for it still.
We give thanks for early Quakers who followed their leading and put hand to the plough to give birth to this learning community many years ago.
We remain thankful for those abolitionists, Black, Brown, and White, who had the courage to seek to create a world they wished to be a part of.
For all the staff and faculty, students, alumni, community members, Quaker meetings, benefactors, and more who have sustained this College through both difficult times and times of flourishing.
I am grateful for that living stream that we stand within and are continually called back to.
These, our graduates, sit in that same stream which gives rise to people shaped by love, goodness, justice, scholarship, and that Inward Light that is in all people.
May you be given the strength and guidance to live fully and faithfully no matter what you face.
We honor those who surround each graduate, whether in person or in spirit, or in Zoom, walking alongside them and cheering them on. As one journey comes to a close and a new one begins, we honor all those who came before us and helped make this moment possible.
May you find your place in the living and abundant stream we call the Guilford family.
May the light you bear within remind you of the compassion and love you are called to in the world.
In the words of Dag Hammarskjold, we close, saying: “For all that has been, we give thanks; for all that shall be, we say yes!”