It is 5 a.m. on Sunday, August 21. Today is the August 2016 Commencement and in about 6 hours we will start convening on the grounds of the Blue Hills Pavilion, preparing for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Graduates will line up. Families will find their seats, President Pantic will put on her Wentworth medallion. The brass ensemble will begin to play. Rachel Keen will run her student commencement address through her head one more time. Sarah McIntyre will warm up her vocal cords to sing the National Anthem. Cliff Freeman will be holding the Wentworth Creed Book, likely looking for the page with his signature. Megan McLaughlin will have the Student Marshal Mace in her hand, readying herself to lead in her class. And I will be holding back tears of sadness because this amazing class is leaving us, but mostly of pride because this amazing class share with us their incredible Wentworth journey.
Yesterday, at the Senior Week Champagne Toast, I had the privilege of saying a few words to those in attendance. I am going to do my best to capture them in writing, to memorialize the impact the Class of 2016 has had on the Wentworth campus:
On my drive here this afternoon, I realized that I was one of the very first people to speak to you as Wentworth students and, today, I will be one of the last to speak to you as Wentworth students. Full circle. I don’t know about you, but for me, these four years went by way too fast. It feels like yesterday we gathered in this very place for New Student Orientation. I’m not sure if you remember, but I said to you, “You might be leaving your parents’ house, but now your coming to my house and I have high expectations for you.”
Well, my friends, four years later, you have shattered those expectations in ways I could never have imagined. Your accomplishments in the classroom, in studio and lab, on your coop jobs, on the playing field, in clubs and organizations proved your intellectual capabilities, your creativity, and your innovative thinking. But, perhaps, even more important than that, the love and respect you have shown for each other and our campus community has made “my house” OUR home.
I just started my 20th year at Wentworth and I would be hard pressed to remember another class with as much care and compassion as the Class of 2016. This became very clear at the end of your first year on campus when the Boston Marathon bombings took place literally in our backyard. While the world watched Boston come together, I watched Wentworth come together. It was the members of this class that came to us asking to hold a candlelight vigil. It was this class that wanted to do a blood drive in memory of Martin Richard. It was this class that designed a #BostonStrong tshirt that raised over $20,000 for the OneFund. This class. The Class of 2016.
That giving spirit continued through your years on campus. Whether is was tutoring local youth in math and science, giving of your time on alternative spring breaks, working with the Girl Scouts of America, or running 200 miles for the Wentworth Student Emergency Fund, the Class of 2016 has demonstrated what it means to pay it forward.
This is what I know. I know as alumni, you will continue to lift the Wentworth name and represent your alma mater with integrity in the work you will do in your professional industries. But, I also know you will do the same in the work you do in your local communities. I know you will continue to give back, to do good. to give voice to those who may not have one loud enough for others to hear, to pay it forward, to make the world a better place for everyone. I know this to be true because I know you. All I ask is that you keep in touch with us so we can celebrate your accomplishments, to come back to visit us so we can share your wisdom with those who follow in your footsteps, and to not forget us, as we will never forget you.
It has been an honor being your dean of students. I am so proud of each and every one of you. Please remember, that no matter where life may take you, Wentworth will always be your home and our doors will always be open.
Congratulations, my friends!