Special Commencement 2017


Women's lacrosse seniors graduate in Special Commencement ceremony

In what has become an annual tradition at Gettysburg College, the seniors on the women's lacrosse team were the focus of a Special Commencement Ceremony inside Brua Hall in Kline Theater on Thursday.

Gettysburg will hold is full-scale Commencement this Sunday, but the five seniors—Emma Christie '17, Caroline Jaeger '17, Shannon Keeler '17, Macauley Mikes '17, and Katelyn Neillands '17—may not be able to attend the regular event as they continue competition in the NCAA Division III Championship scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Clark Field.

For the ninth time in the last 12 years, Gettysburg honored the seniors on the women's lacrosse team with a Special Commencement attended by their families, members of the staff and faculty, and their lacrosse teammates.

"We promise our students a personal education experience at Gettysburg College," said President Janet Morgan Riggs '77 during Thursday's event, "but it doesn't occur to most people that this personal experience might also include Commencement."

Watch the 2017 Special Commencement Ceremony.

Riggs was joined on stage by Special Commencement speaker J. Matthew Kittelberger, chairperson and associate professor of biology. Kittelberger cited some of the words used to describe the five seniors by their professors and coaches, including tough, independent, hard-working, compassionate, sensitive, kind, and fearless in the face of conflict.

Kittelberger's ensuing speech focused on the idea of meandering to find your passions and where you really want to go in life. He recounted his own post-collegiate experiences after graduating from Harvard University before passing along sage advice to the seniors.

"You will, of course, find your own passions, and you'll follow your own roads," said Kittelberger. "But, as you do, I encourage you—no matter what your goals—to be willing—and not afraid—to meander. And when you do meander, either because of a choice you consciously make, or just because of a twist life throws at you, be open to what the experience can teach you. There's always something to learn, if your eyes and your heart and your mind are open."

Riggs, College Provost Chistopher Zappe, and Dean of Students Julie Ramsey oversaw the conferring of degrees to each of the five seniors. Christie, Jaeger, and Keeler all received degrees in organization and management studies, while Mikes and Niellands received degrees in health sciences.

The ceremony wrapped up with the lacrosse seniors completing a time-honored Gettysburg tradition by processing through Penn Hall, meeting their friends and family, teammates and coaches on the north lawn for a celebratory reception.

The seniors will lead Gettysburg into the regional round of the NCAA playoffs this weekend at Clark Field. The Bullets face Rhodes College on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Salisbury University and Ithaca College meet in Saturday's second contest at 2:30 p.m. The two winning teams will square off in the regional championship for the chance to compete in the national semifinals on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

View photos from the event above or on Flickr.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Photos by Miranda Harple
Corey Jewart, associate director of athletic communications, 717.337.6323

Contact: Kasey Varner '14, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6806

Posted: Thu, 18 May 2017

Next on your reading list

Women’s golf team claims its eighth-straight Centennial Conference championship

8 classes that will change the way you think

Economics majors find career success across industries

Share this story: