Rain-filled clouds couldn’t dampen the festivities this weekend, as Gettysburgians gathered to celebrate the Class of 2022 on May 14 during the College’s 187th Commencement.
Shoulder to shoulder with classmates, roommates, and teammates—peers who’ve become family—they made it to Commencement side by side, step by step, together. And so, together for the final time as Gettysburg College students, they reflected on the winding journeys of growth that led them to this culminating day and the building blocks they assembled along the way, upon which they’ll create the future, as the College’s newest alumni.
In his welcoming remarks, President Bob Iuliano spoke to the graduating class about this commemorative occasion of joy and reflection, one that is especially well-deserved.
“Today, you emerge from Pennsylvania Hall not only as Gettysburg graduates but as leaders and engaged citizens prepared to change the world,” Iuliano said. “Your childhood dream of ‘one day’ and ‘someday’ is now this day.”
Iuliano later spoke of how these graduates, over the past four years, have fearlessly taken to creating a brighter tomorrow, through the accomplishments they’ve reached thus far and the great work they’ve yet to do, from Gettysburg onward.
“If I can leave you with one piece of advice today, it would be this: Building a better world means giving your full self to the one that’s in front of you,” Iuliano said. “So, be present. Be engaged. Be invested. We still have a lot of unfinished still before us.”
On behalf of the Class of 2022, student speaker Phoebe Doscher ’22 reminisced on the many moments that led her and her peers to this day. She began with their first-year Orientation in August of 2018 when Commencement felt so far away, and now how quickly it has come—realizing how much they’ve each evolved since.
“When we arrived on campus, we stepped into a place where we could reinvent ourselves—not continuing with how our lives were supposed to be, but rather journeying toward the endless possibilities of what our lives could be,” Doscher said. “As these four years unfolded, I have witnessed all of us tapping into our wealth of potential, learning more than ever about ourselves and the world around us.”
Now, nearly 1,500 days later—each filled to the brim with successful endeavors, challenges, laughs, learning opportunities, perhaps a few tears, but above all else, joy in the journey—the day is here, and the Class of 2022 is ready to embrace what lies ahead.
“I hope you never forget that you always had everything within you to Do Great Work, and you always will,” Doscher said. “We are boundless, Class of 2022. I see it, I believe it, and I can’t wait to see what we will do next.”
Following Doscher, U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, this year’s Commencement speaker, shared the lessons she learned throughout her life, from fleeing her homeland of Vietnam as a young child with her parents and older brother in search of a better life to becoming the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress in our nation’s history. Interwoven in personal anecdotes, Murphy offered graduates these three pieces of advice: “Be courageous,” “calibrate your internal compass toward your true north,” and “strive for a life of service.”
“In my experience, nothing will give you a greater sense of personal satisfaction than dedicating your time and talents to helping others,” said Murphy, who received an honorary degree during the ceremony. “I’ll also make a personal plea. I hope you’ll consider a career—or at least a serious stint—in government service. Because, boy, does our country need young people like you right now.”
Looking out onto the rows of eager younger leaders in their caps and gowns, ready to take on the world with passion and persistence, Rep. Murphy expressed a heartfelt confidence in the class to use their Gettysburg College education in transformational ways.
Proud to be this year's commencement speaker at @Gettysburg College, and humbled to have received the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service. Congratulations Class of 2022! #gburg2022 pic.twitter.com/2FWHOxc8kO— U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) May 15, 2022
“Your diploma bears a name—Gettysburg—that is central to the American story and represents what is best about the American spirit. That should make you feel proud and humbled,” Murphy said. “As a Gettysburg graduate, you are now ready to do great work for your community, your country, and your world.”
Further emphasizing Murphy’s parting words, Iuliano closed with a charge for the Class of 2022: to “dream daringly,” “be brave in the face of changing tides,” “step forward into the arena of tomorrow’s ideas,” “be humble but also confident,” and “believe in yourself.”
“You, as Gettysburg graduates, are proof that a brighter tomorrow is always worth fighting for,” Iuliano said. “Class of 2022, we are so proud of you. We wish you the very best in your adventures ahead.”
Check back on May 17 for a recap video from the ceremony.
Photo Gallery from Commencement Weekend
By Molly Foster
Photos by Jason Minick and Shawna Sherrell