2021 midyear graduates celebrated, challenged to ‘be great’ in all pursuits

For many, the winter months are a time to pause, reflect on the last year, and joyfully look onward to the possibilities of the year to come. During the Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony on December 15, our newest alumni, surrounded by their families, friends, and beloved Gettysburg College community members, were given a moment to do just that.

“As you reflect on your entire time here—the challenges, the triumphs, and the ordinary moments that together help define your collegiate experience—I hope that you find a deep sense of satisfaction in all that you have done,” said Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano in his welcome remarks.

“What you, yourself, have gained during your time at Gettysburg is tremendously important, and we are here to celebrate that tonight, but we also want to recognize and to thank you for what you have given us,” Iuliano continued. “You have made an impact here. … And, like the proverbial ripple in a still pond, your impact extends much farther than you think.”

Bob Iuliano standing at a podium with flowers in the foreground
Gettysburg College Bob Iuliano shares welcome remarks to midyear graduates.

He encouraged the 31 graduates in attendance to consider what it means to each of them to build upon their Gettysburg College education as they take their next steps—to live a “wonderful life.” He also shared a few of the humble observations he has made over the years on what comprises such a life: choosing curiosity over complacency, seeking enlightenment over entrenchment, and embracing purpose over prestige.

Iuliano further encouraged midyear graduates to apply these aspirations to all that they choose to pursue in their lives. Provost Christopher Zappe added to Iuliano’s sentiments in his remarks, offering his congratulations to the graduates for their many accomplishments and affirming their readiness to take on the world.

Later in the ceremony, Alumni Professor in Mathematics and Prof. Benjamin Bartlett Kennedy, the event’s faculty speaker, discussed the growth journey that each Gettysburg College student embarks on during their time here. He also shared a “secret:” once you leave Gettysburg, that growth doesn’t stop.

Alumni Professor Prof. Benjamin Kennedy speaking from a podium
Alumni Professor in Mathematics and Prof. Benjamin Bartlett Kennedy, the event’s faculty speaker, addresses midyear graduates.

“None of you is actually a finished product. You aren’t exactly the person you’ll always be. You will continue to learn, and grow, and change—both in ways that you can probably guess and in ways that you haven’t even dreamed of yet,” Kennedy said. “The world is full of opportunities to learn, and grow, and make other peoples’ lives better. Embrace these opportunities. Be great, and if you worry that you can’t be great, pretend to be great. Try it out. You will get closer all the time.”

Following Kennedy’s remarks, Vice President of College Life, Anne Ehrlich, recognized midyear graduates by name—each, then, walking across the College Union Building Ballroom stage. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the alma mater by the Reverend Stephen R. Herr ’89, a pastor at the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

A graduate shaking Bob Iuliano's hand on stage
A midyear graduate shakes Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano’s hand, upon being recognized.

The annual Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony honors students who have completed degree requirements in August 2021 or are expected to complete their degrees in December 2021. All midyear graduates are invited to participate in Commencement Weekend for the Class of 2022, which will take place May 13-14, 2022. Check the Commencement webpages for updates.

View the gallery from the Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony

2021 Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony

By Molly Foster
Photos by Jason Minick
Posted: 12/16/21