Bennet ’87 to 2012: “Your generation has so many more opportunities to lead, to make change, than the Class of 1987 ever did.” Also, tear down those walls. Like Reagan. Sort of.
Congratulations, Wesleyan Class of 2012! Now go tear down some walls. Or something.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, a whopping 713 members of the senior class graduated on Andrus Field this morning after remarks by President Michael Roth ’78 (featuring references to WesRave, the ACB, and, err, “hipster pessimism”), a senior class welcome from Kennedy Odede ’12, and a stirring, historically heavy Commencement Address from Senator (and presidential heir) Michael Bennet ’87, who instructed one and all to “bring down those walls” and embrace “some period of public service” as the debt for the privilege of attending Wesleyan. “You will transform American politics for this new age,” said Bennet, “because otherwise it will become as irrelevant as the British parliament in 1776.” Meanwhile, about halfway through Roth’s speech, a few unidentified students dropped a banner from nearby Clark denouncing ongoing changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind admissions practices. From my vantage point, the silent protest offered a large-scale complement to the “Keep Wes Need Blind” stickers I saw affixed to the shirts of student workers, graduates, alums, and even a few parents all day (more on this later). But what say you?
Seniors, you’ll be missed. But for now, go hug your grandparents. I’ve been driving them around all day on golf carts, and they’re totally psyched. (You can wait until tomorrow, I guess.)
For more comprehensive coverage, be sure to check out Wesleying’s own Commencement Liveblog, courtesy of BZOD, pyrotechnics, and a few well-charged laptops under a pine tree in sweltering heat. For additional resources on what went down and when, I would advise you to consult:
- Wesleyan Connection coverage of Commencement 2012 here;
- Senator Bennet’s Commencement Address in text form here;
- Kennedy Odede ’12’s senior class welcome here;
- President Roth’s address to the Class of 2012 here;
- Nearly 500 professional-quality photos of Commencement here; and
- A bazillion congratulatory statuses on your Facebook newsfeed;
Here’s a small gallery of photos I managed to snap on the fly while shuttling around the field on a golf cart for hours at a time. In case you’re wondering, campus photographer Olivia Drake has a far more expensive camera than I do, but my photos are far more likely to contain your grandparents, because I probably gave them a lift at some point.