Special Commencement

May 12, 2022
President Robert W. Iuliano
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

As Delivered.

Greetings and Opening Comments

Welcome families, friends, colleagues, and guests—and especially, the senior members of our women’s and men’s lacrosse teams.

Today, we are here to honor 18 students who are graduating from Gettysburg College. As we begin our ceremony this morning, I would ask each of you to stand when your name is called and give us a wave, so we can recognize you: Nathan Capriglione, Griffin Gallagher, Julia Horner, Connor Hume, Nora Janzer, Caroline Keenaghan, Tate Kienzle, Spencer Knife, William Lacon Jr., Scott MacMillan, Max Merlino, Joseph Persche, Caroline Regan, Jonah Scher, Maddi Seibel, Thomas Shinske, Cecily Stabler, and Elon Tuckman.

Let’s give these students a big round of applause! Congratulations!

At Gettysburg College, we promise every one of our students A Consequential Education—an education that is among the most personal and student-focused in the entire nation. And for you 18 students that personal experience includes this special Commencement ceremony.

Let me begin by expressing my joy and excitement for all that this remarkable group of seniors has accomplished, both on and off the field. The fact that we are hosting this ceremony today speaks, in large measure, to the tremendous success you have achieved as leaders of your respective teams. In keeping up with your seasons, and attending some thrilling contests, I was hopeful that your performance would bring us to this exact moment. Lo and behold, here we are!

Of course, your journey to this stage today has been anything but conventional. Yet, even among the many twists and turns of these past few years, you never once wavered.

You embraced the rigors of your Gettysburg College education— stretching your mind and strengthening your resolve to act.

You competed at the highest level of the Centennial Conference and all of Division III lacrosse. Earning victories against many of the best teams in the country, all the while, transforming into the best versions of yourselves.

And, you gave back not only to this community, but also to just and noble causes, including through your support of the HEADStrong Foundation, the Lacrosse for Life Shaving Event, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Your efforts, undoubtedly, have impacted hundreds—if not thousands—of lives for the better.

You should all feel extremely proud of what you have accomplished here.

At the end of the day, that’s what a Gettysburg education is all about. Readying you to be doers. Inspiring you to apply what you’ve learned for the greater good.

You have achieved this as 18 Gettysburg students, yes, but more impressively, you’ve achieved this as two Gettysburg teams—two teams that have only grown closer together amid your triumphs and obstacles along the way.

Graduates, our society needs more of that.

We have big challenges facing our nation and our world. Challenges that will require people of courage and conscience to address them. People like you.

If you need any examples of how to rise to this essential work, I invite you to look no further than your coaches. Whether they are building a new legacy from the ground up. Or, they themselves are have shaped this enduring legacy by the people they are and the values they’ve instilled in you and countless others. They reflect the best of what we all aspire to be.

On Saturday, I will share a message with your classmates—and today, I want to share it with you as you embark on this next chapter in your lives. The message is simply this: building a better life and a better world means giving your full self to the one that’s in front of you.

So, be present. Be engaged. Be all in.

Graduates, you have embodied this commitment during your time as Gettysburg students and athletes. And now, you have the rare opportunity to add to your legacy by what you will do—and more importantly, by how you will do it—in the days, weeks, and years ahead. I know you will rise to the challenge.

We wish you all the very best! Congratulations!

The Charge

It is now my honor to deliver the charge to our graduates.

I began my comments today by speaking to what it means to build better world, and how you—as Gettysburg graduates—have the rare opportunity before you to shape your own enduring legacy.

As Professor Brandauer so elegantly articulated, you have everything within you to make a difference. To be a SWAN. To lead a contributive and meaningful life—a consequential life.

Guided by his words to you today, and inspired by your actions over these past four years, my charge to you is simply this: Dream Daringly.

Be brave in the face of changing tides, and problems that at first blush may seem insurmountable.

Step forward into the arena of tomorrow’s ideas, policies, and decisions — and lend your voice and best thinking to our future.

Be humble but also confident in the many talents you will bring to a world that needs you.

And lastly, believe in yourself, because when all is said and done, the courage to try is the courage to truly live.

Graduates, our entire campus will be cheering for you this weekend. You have represented the Orange and Blue with pride and dignity. While we all hope that you will meet success in the games ahead, know that you are already champions in the eyes of your new alma mater.

On behalf of the entire Gettysburg College community, I offer you our very best wishes, this week and well into the future.

Again, congratulations and Do Great Work!