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Grads told to embrace their 'uniqueness'

May 15, 2016
By Whitney Helm
Decorative Mortar Board at Commencement 2016.

Grads told to embrace their 'uniqueness'

Beloit College’s 293 graduates in the class of 2016 were once said to have always lived in cyberspace, at least according to The Beloit College Mindset List.  On Sunday, they changed spaces and moved on to other aspirations.

A recording of the entire ceremony is available. Pictures and captions from this morning are available on the college’s website as well.

Beloit College President Scott Bierman opened the morning ceremony and enthusiastically introduced graduating senior Reid Libby of Carmel, Ind., who wrote a song titled John Kaufmann.

Libby played guitar and sang the song to the beloved assistant professor of theatre arts. “When I don’t have a clue, I try to think of what you would do,” sang Libby, explaining that Kaufmann would “take our dumb mistakes and turn them into something great.”

Bierman remarked that like Kaufmann, all faculty are “psychopomps,” a word that means a guide to the afterlife. In this case, faculty and staff are guiding graduates to their lives after Beloit College.

“We celebrate your life after Beloit,” said Bierman.

Theologian, reverend and scholar JoAnne Marie Terrell, the 2016 commencement speaker selected by the senior class, urged students to embrace their uniqueness, especially in moments of transfiguration.

“Like the bird of paradise, which is unique, colorful and unapologetically beautiful... embrace your uniqueness and every nuance of your colorful character; and for the sake of the world, remain unapologetically beautiful, inwardly and outwardly. Because ‘transfiguration happens,’ every time we do, every time we are,” said Terrell.

More key moments from Beloit’s 2016 Commencement

  • The graduates with the highest academic standings among the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree recipients were: Ellen Garland Moses from Berkeley, Calif., and Wolodymyr (Wally) Peter Borys Wirchnianski from Lanark, Ill. (B.A) and Emma Carolyn Koeppel from Cambridge, Wis. (B.S).
  • Nadir Carlson of Beloit, received the Warren Miller Blue Skies Award, named for a Beloit alumnus who is famous for his many New Yorker magazine cartoons, the award pays tribute to a member of the senior class who helped “foster good cheer, a good-humored perspective, and saving grace in the conduct of our daily lives together on campus.”
  • Hayley Barnett of New York City, was voted senior class speaker and reminded graduates to embrace change. “We've succeeded because we've made these choices in our lives that benefit us and our education and our happiness, but also some that haven't. The success is in the choice, not necessarily in the result. It's in coming to terms with the constant change in our lives and recognizing that it provides fresh opportunities. Maybe we're not too sure about where our decisions will lead us. But that’s fine; uncertainty is inevitable.”
  • Max Brumberg-Kraus of Providence, R.I.,won the Martha Peterson Prize, named after Beloit College's seventh president and awarded to a student who best exemplifies the college's liberal arts traditions as a student and active contributor to the campus community.
  • Commencement speaker JoAnne Marie Terrell was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the college.
  • Carol Mankiewicz, Ph.D., a professor of biology and geology, retired from Beloit this year and was awarded emerita status at commencement.

Images

Beloit Commencement 2016

Beloit Commencement 2016

Beloit Commencement 2016

Beloit Commencement 2016

Beloit Commencement 2016

Beloit Commencement 2016