Moravian College Celebrates Class of 2014 at Commencement
During his greetings at the beginning of Saturday’s commencement exercises – moments after welcoming the soon-to-be graduates as brothers and sisters of Moravian College – President Bryon L. Grigsby ’90 asked those donning caps and gowns to consider not their futures, but also the prospects of those graduates sitting around them.
“Commencement is not an end, it is a beginning,” said Grigsby, presiding over his first commencement at his alma mater. “As of Monday, some of you will start new jobs. Some of you will be going to graduate school, furthering your education. Some of you will be entering hospitals to save lives. Others of you will be leading corporations down the road. All this starts today.
“Sitting next to you might be the next cure for cancer. The next Fortune 500 company. The next spectacular teacher. The next awesome nurse and, possibly, the next president of Moravian College,” he continued. “You are as good as those (faculty members) over there say you are. Do not be afraid of what they are telling you. You will do great things.”
Grigsby then offered a present to the class of 2014, shedding his traditional cap for one he recently purchased at Disney World, complete with Mickey Mouse’s familiar black ears.
“In the words of Walt Disney, all our dreams can come true … if we have the courage to pursue them,” he reasoned. “Pursue your dreams. Have the courage to believe it.”
During the nearly two-hour-long ceremony on the outdoor quadrangle behind the Haupert Union Building, the College concluded its 272nd academic year. The College conferred approximately 389 bachelor degree candidates, 19 Master of Business Administration degree candidates, and 10 Master of Education degree candidates, six Master of Science degree candidates, and four Master of Science in Human Resource Management candidates. (There are not one, but two commencement photo galleries online.)
The graduating class maintained a longstanding Moravian College tradition, electing a student and a faculty member to speak at the commencement ceremony.
Anders Engman ’14, a double major in psychology and sociology with a concentration in pre-law, served as the class student speaker. He opened by acknowledging the great number of classmates and friends who offered him recommendations on what he should discuss.
“I am lucky enough to be a member of a tightly woven community of intellectuals known as Moravian College class of 2014,” he said. In between the requests for commencement “shoutouts,” Engman explained that a friend sent a video link of a quantum theorist explaining multidimensional theory to the tenth dimension. Heavy stuff, Engman admitted, but the topic helped led him through his numerous talking points.
Engman concluded his speech with, “I ask you now to remember this day, not for this speech, not even for this ceremony, but for the time that you have with those who you hold dear, and how you made today worth remembering." He then compelled his follow graduates to adhere to a lesson they likely first learned as children: treat others the way we ourselves would desire to be treated.
Obeying this rule will provide a “mindset that brings about ethical and compassionate decision making,” he argued, before closing with words from Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
From the Comenius Center, M.Ed. degree candidate William Neal delivered the statement of the master’s graduates. Neal, a curriculum and instruction/reading specialist certification student in the Master of Education program, currently teaches fifth grade in the Northampton Area School District. Additionally, he serves as assistant men’s tennis coach at Moravian College.
Neal asked his fellow graduates to always remember the foundation of their successes: hard work, dedication and perseverance. At the same time, he argued they must also realize their accomplishments were aided by the support system around them, whether it be parents, professors, relatives or friends.
“There is no question that my success and your success to this point have been the result of a team effort,” he said.
Neal challenged the crowd to take on the adversities they will undoubtedly face. “Unfortunately, the pressures of the world will continue long after we leave Moravian College. But rest assured, you do have the tools necessary to deal with these challenges," he said. "I encourage all of you to embrace the pressure that you will face in the future with the same determination and resolve that you have used these past few years.”
ABOVE: Mark Wunderly ’14 served as flag bearer during commencement last week.
ABOVE: President Bryon Grigsby presided over his first commencement exercises on May 10.
Robert Mayer, professor of education and a member of the College faculty for 27 years, concluded the commencement speakers, focusing not on the future, but the past – his past, that is.
Mayer explained, “I want to reach out from my six decades to your two, three or four decades and connect with you in some rich, meaningful way. To accomplish that, I thought it might help to consider my 20s, so I could tell you about the start of my journey.”
From there, Mayer detailed how a chance invitation from an episcopal priest led to him to work at an Ohio summer camp, which changed his life’s trajectory. Noting his then bout of personal depression and “deep despair over a rudderless life,” he volunteered at the camp, which brought together children from the suburbs and the inner city of Cincinnati.
While Mayer expected he would be the one making an impact – influencing the children – the opposite proved true. The experience “completely transformed me,” he explained. “Through them, I discovered in myself a capacity to remain calm in stressful situations, an ability to talk to a child, to give that child some comfort. In other words, I found my vocation.”
“My journey as a teacher began (there) and continues to this day,” he explained.
Then, noting the interdependence of the world’s people, Mayer pointed out the many positive, selfless actions he's seen from his colleagues – mentioning professors Diane White Husic, Kelly Denton-Borhaug, Stacey Zaremba, among others, by name – as well as his students. Through community services activities, whether it be tutoring children at Lincoln Elementary or feeding people at New Bethany Ministries, the good work of Moravian students is already evident, Mayer reasoned.
A self-confessed person of the sixties, Mayer called for students to continue this positive influence on others and the world, and to “maybe getting into a little good trouble in our fight for a more just world,” he concluded.
To view the commencement program, click here.
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