It was more like March than May. The temperature was exactly 47 degrees when the Brass Ensemble began to play its triumphant march and faculty and 75 prospective graduates began processing to the big, white tend on the lawn by the pool. The sky was battleship grey and the east wind was piercing.
But spirits were high, the heaters were going full blast, and more than twelve hundred family members and friends gather under and around the canopy brok into cheers and applause as the academic procession came into sight, crossed the drive, and proceeded down the gentle slope.
PMC's 95th Commencement took place on the first Sunday of May, a week earlier than usual in order to facilitate the renovation of the residence halls. The campus looked its best with many flowering trees in full bloom owing to a stretch of unseasonable warm weather.
President Gloria Nemerowicz welcomed every to this celebration of the accomplishments of hte Class of 2007. "As we affirm life, let us also remember the loss of life at Virginia Tech, in our own communities, and in the wars and genocides that plague our world."
"Our graduates and this College," President Nemerowicz said, "stand strong against inequality, exclusion, and individual greed." She encouraged the graduates to "apply the values you have learned in this community to cherish and improve the lives of others."
Graduating Senior Zephyre "Tess" Carrington then sang the Alma Mater, followed by Senior Class Speaker Suad Maow, who said, "We finally made it! Today is the culmination of four more years of effort, sweat, tears, and hard work."
"Pine Manor has given us opportunity," Maow continued, "and we must also provide opportunity for others as we continue on in our lives. I remember that whenever I was asked for a charitable contribution, I would say, 'I am a charity case myself.' Thinking back on that phrase, I cringe.
"I have come to understand that responsibility shouldn't be somethign that weighs you downs. Giving away a couple hours a week to help someone else shouldn't be a burden."
Maow charged the class of 2007 to look outward and find a cause. "Whether its mentoring, tutoring, or volunteering, we must get involved in our communities. If we pay attention to the children of today, they will follow our lead and make the world a better place for our own children, grandchildren, and people everywhere. Class of 2007: take charge, be leaders, get involved!"
The College then conferred honorary degrees on five distinguished individuals, including two retiring PMC trustees: Anne Noland Edwards '70 P'00, Dr. Philip O. Geier, Dr. Yvonne Gomez-Carrion, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and actress Victoria Rowell.
Anne Noland Edwards '70 P'00, retiring Co-Chair of the PMC Board of Trustees, told the Class of 2007 that "only with time will the lives that you were meant to live unfold, only with time will you realize and appreciate the underpining and support that you received at Pine Manor College to those lives, and only with time will you appreciate the need to give back to the College and to the community that embraces you."
Philip O. Geier, retiring Trustee Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, said we was proud to be a part of the Class of 2007, particularly since he was the only male in the class. He charged the students "to think of yourselves as Commencers and apply the skills learned in the past four years to the lifelong path that lies ahead."
Yvonne Gomez-Carrion, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Associate in Obstatrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told the graduates that "you are empowered and internally motivated young women who now have to live your own dreams. The only limits are the ones that you impose upon yourselves."
Ambassador Swanee Hunt, founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, urged the graduates to "have faith in yourselves, assume the responsibility of becoming leaders, and don't panice if you aren't yet quite sure what you want to do, what you want to become."
Actress and author Victoria Rowell, founder and chair of the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan said, "always help those less fortunate than you are, and keep in mind that you have a reciprocal obligation to share the riches that you have received ... get involved and stay active."
Following the presentation of honorary degrees, President Nemerowicz awarded honors to students and recognized outstanding faculty.
Degrees were then awarded to the graduates of the Class of 2007, with the largest number of majors being Psychology (21), Biology, (19), Business Administration (13), and Social & Political Systems (11).
Mon, May 7, 2007
by Peter Woloschuk, Bulletin Editor