With the upcoming weeks set to bring families and friends together across the world, Gettysburg College started celebrating early with the 2022 Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony inside the College Union Building (CUB) Ballroom on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The event recognized students who had completed or were set to complete their academic requirements toward a coveted liberal arts and sciences degree during the fall semester.
“Graduates, you have earned this moment, every one of you, and we are incredibly proud of you,” said Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano in his opening remarks. “Of course, as is true for so many of the milestones in our lives, we don’t reach them alone. It is only through the love, support, and encouragement of those around us that we can truly realize our fullest potential.”
With nearly 40 new graduates, their families and friends, and College staff and faculty listening intently inside the CUB Ballroom, Iuliano likened the trials overcome during the graduates’ time on campus to the beginning of everything itself with the “Big Bang” billions of years ago. That moment set the universe on its path to where it is today, and so too did the assembled graduates experience their own life-changing course at Gettysburg.
“Like the early universe, the ingredients that make you uniquely you have always been there,” said Iuliano. “This is true, but you have never been static. You’ve never stood still.
“You too are ever-changing, and the catalyst for your growth—what has taken those ingredients and helped to form you into who you are today—are the very people in this room, and the experiences you have all shared together.”
Supported by parents, faculty, coaches, friends, and classmates, and brought together by campus traditions such as the First-Year Walk and Servo Thanksgiving, the midyear graduates overcame a global pandemic and a multitude of individual trials to achieve their greatest growth. According to Iuliano, they learned how to “surmount whatever challenges lie ahead.”
“Without a doubt, each and every one of you is leaving with an intellectual toolkit that is deeper and broader than that with which you arrived.”
– Prof. Salma Monani
Provost Christopher Zappe further reinforced the graduates’ accomplishment in gaining a liberal arts and sciences degree, commending the path they will take forward as leaders and engaged global citizens upon leaving Gettysburg College.
“When you graduate from Gettysburg College, you are up to the challenges that await you,” said Zappe. “Through our rigorous liberal arts and science curriculum, through your educational opportunities on and off campus, and through your Gettysburg experience, you are ready.”
Environmental Studies Prof. Salma Monani, the ceremony’s guest speaker, then opened her remarks by asking everyone in the room to “take a breath and pause,” bringing into focus the celebratory moment all were experiencing in the room together.
“Certainly, as your faculty, we have championed you every step of the way, rooting for you to become more than the person you were when you first arrived on campus,” said Monani. “Without a doubt, each and every one of you is leaving with an intellectual toolkit that is deeper and broader than that with which you arrived. That is worth pausing to celebrate!”
Against a constant barrage of divisive messaging and instantaneous news from the world around them, Monani implored the graduates to take time to “press that pause button often” and not only celebrate accomplishments, but also reflect on that journey to success—the intellectual knowledge and emotional intelligence gained, and “the opportunity to work with others for a better, kinder, less intolerant world.”
“This opportunity to work well with others is at the heart of your Gettysburg College liberal arts education,” said Monani. “Here in our small, tight-knit community, you have had the opportunity to grow meaningful relationships of care and support even as you have been invited to engage across difference. These opportunities will serve you well.”
Following Monani’s remarks, Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students Anne Ehrlich recognized each midyear graduate by name as they walked across the CUB Ballroom stage. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the alma mater by Vivian Davenport ’25 and Benediction by Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and College Chaplain Michael Bright.
All midyear graduates are invited to participate in Commencement Weekend for the Class of 2023, which will take place May 12-13, 2023. Check the Commencement webpage for updates.
View the gallery from the Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony
By Corey Jewart
Photos by Abbey Frisco and Jason Minick