Over 100 Wells students earned their undergraduate degrees during a ceremony held Saturday, May 19 in the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing of the Schwartz Athletic Center.
Following the traditional processional, Sachem (Chief) Sam George, of the Bear Clan of the Cayuga Nation, delivered his opening “Words Before All Else,” an ancient supplication of the Haudenosaunee, along with brief remarks about the Cayuga Nation. Following that, President Gibralter read aloud a statement acknowledging that Wells College is located upon the traditional land of the Cayuga Nation, and that the College is committed to “ensuring that the traditions and culture of indigenous peoples are embraced and reflected upon in order to engage in solidarity with the Cayuga Nation.”
After the Reverend Barbara Blom ’82 gave a spirited invocation, Carrie A. Bolton ’92, chair of the Wells College Board of Trustees, encouraged the graduating seniors to become an active part of “a support network of over 7,000 alumni and alumnae who warmly welcome you to their community. They want to see you succeed, just as much as anyone here in this room today.”
President Gibralter opened his remarks by expressing his pride and gratitude in “being able to be a part of the College as it celebrates an historic milestone: the 150th anniversary of its founding by Henry Wells.” Gibralter reminded the students of the College’s mission to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. He tasked the graduates with finding an appropriate balance between emotion and reason. “Today, each of you is taking the next step in cultivating a meaningful life. As members of our 150th graduating class, go forth with your head held high, your heart bursting with Wells pride, and carry the light of Aurora with you into the world, always.”
Student Commencement speaker Annabelle Lee ’18 sought to inspire her peers, reminding them that Wellsians are “world changers and expectation breakers, goal reachers and promise keepers, waiting for our moment to show everyone just what we can do.” Lee, who will be pursuing a master’s in higher education administration at Syracuse University in the fall, went on to thank many in the Wells campus community. “Without the support of the people here . . . I truly don’t believe I would have made it this far,” Lee said.
Christin L. Schaaf ’99, who delivered the main Commencement address, asked students to imagine fear as a powerful tool that can help students overcome self-doubt and unlock their “inner superpowers.” Schaaf invited the students into “a community of women and young men who know the magic of this place; the traditions that you carried on; and the power of the education you received.”
Following the ceremony, graduates and their families celebrated during a reception in the dining hall.
Congratulations to the Wells College class of 2018!