The graduating senior class of Wells College has selected Kaylen Furr ’21 — a double major in psychology and in women’s and gender studies — as this year’s student Commencement speaker.
Kaylen, who hails from Fayetteville, N.Y., came to Wells after graduating from Fayetteville–Manlius High School and receiving the Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award. They have been active in numerous aspects of campus life, including as a writer/correspondent for the College’s chapter of Her Campus and as a member of the orchestra (on violin), the Prodigy dance team and the Oddline team. On the athletics side, Kaylen has participated in both cross country and swimming. They also have participated in several alumnae/alumni Reunion events and in other capacities as a student-alumni ambassador, and as well as acting as a tour guide for the Admissions office.
This past Wednesday, May 5, 2021, Kaylen was honored in multiple ways during the College’s annual honors awards program. They received the Dorothy Allison Razor’s Edge Prize in Women’s Studies for demonstrating a commitment to and understanding of the political, social, intellectual and transformative goals of women’s studies and/or feminism, according to the award criteria. Kaylen was also awarded the William Liberi ’05 Memorial Prize for TLGBQ Activism and Scholarship, the Margaret Schwartz Music Prize and the Margaret Schwartz Psychology Prize. In addition, Kaylen was inducted into the College’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a prestigious academic honor society whose membership is by invitation only.
This fall, Kaylen will continue their studies in the University of Rochester’s graduate program in mental health counseling. “Accessible mental health care and destigmatizing issues around mental health are things very important to me, and this program will allow me to further my work in these areas,” Kaylen said.
In their free time, Kaylen enjoys writing poetry and narrative, dancing (primarily Irish dance, but currently learning some other styles), long walks in the village of Aurora, and “doing pretty much anything that allows me to be outside and be creative, while making meaningful connections with those around me,” Kaylen added.
The College’s 153rd Commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 22, at 10 a.m. Eastern. The keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony is Katie Fong, a 2006 Wells College graduate who is an expert in organizational change management and a Wells College alumna trustee. (You can read more about Ms. Fong at this link.) Marie Chapman Carroll ’75, chair of the Wells College Board of Trustees, and President Jonathan Gibralter will also provide remarks during the ceremony.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s ceremony will be modified to protect the health and safety of everyone on campus as well as the local community. Due to New York State COVID-19 restrictions that currently limit the size of outdoor commencements and other gatherings, we will not be able to welcome family members or other guests on campus for this year’s ceremony, which will take place on the front steps of Macmillan Hall.
Chairs will be set up in Macmillan Circle to ensure the proper amount of physical distancing between graduates, and all participants will be required to show proof of vacation or test negative for COVID-19, in addition to wearing masks and following standard COVID protocols. The proceedings will be broadcast live on the Wells College website at wells.edu/commencement and on the College’s YouTube channel.
Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Wells, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, helps students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to build their confidence and create their own unique path in life. With dozens of majors and minors available in the sciences, arts, humanities and pre-professional programs, Wells provides a purposeful curriculum and an immersive educational experience that is steeped in tradition. Students can also take advantage of 13 NCAA Division III athletic teams; over 40 student-led organizations and clubs; and cross-registration agreements with Cornell University, Ithaca College and Cayuga Community College. More at wells.edu.