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PSS Spring '09 - The Houghton House Renaissance

Classes of 2009

New Alums Are Called To Service During Commencement 2009

by Marissa Willsey '09

Commencement

On May 17, 2009, members of the Hobart and William Smith community gathered on the Quad to honor the Classes of 2009. Carol M. Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama Administration, gave this year's Commencement Address, encouraging graduates to dare to dream of a future with a clean economy, clean water and clean air. "We have the opportunity to change the future," she said.

Browner urged graduates to consider pursuing a career in public service. "That doesn't mean you have to be a teacher or work in government," she explained. "But it means that you have to find a way to roll up your sleeves to reach out and touch someone else to make a difference in your community and your world."

 
Carol M. Browner L.H.D. '09, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change in the Ob ama Adm inistration, addresses the crowd during Commencement.

Carol M. Browner L.H.D. '09, Assistant to the
President for Energy and Climate Change in the
Obama Administration, addresses the crowd during
Commencement.

Frank Schroeder '65 (on behalf of Trustee C. Dixon Kunzelmann '64, P'93), Carol M. Browner, President Mark D. Gearan, Chairman of the board David H. Deming '75, Rev. W. James Gerling, and Jane Rea Gerling pose before the commencement ceremony.

Frank Schroeder '65 (on behalf of Trustee C. Dixon
Kunzelmann '64, P'93), Carol M. Browner, President
Mark D. Gearan, Chairman of the board David H. Deming
'75, Rev. W. James Gerling, and Jane Rea Gerling
pose before the commencement ceremony.

Kris Ruppersberger, the first student to complete the ontario arc college experience program at hws, stands to be conferred.

Kris Ruppersberger, the first student to complete
the ontario arc college experience program at hws,
stands to be conferred.

William Smith women raise a glass to sisterhood during the alumnae association senior welcome.

William Smith women raise a glass to sisterhood
during the alumnae association senior welcome.

Hobart men dip paddles engraved with their name and class year into seneca lake during the hobart alumni association launch.

Hobart men dip paddles engraved with their
name and class year into seneca lake during the
hobart alumni association launch.

In his Valedictory Address, Colleges President Mark D. Gearan continued the theme of service, asking the Classes of 2009 to consider the nature of happiness. "When you're back on this Quad for your 25th or your 50th Reunion, will you be happy? How will you know it?"

Citing the concept of 'Gross National Happiness,' which seeks to tie a nation's success to quantitative measures of well-being and happiness, Gearan advised the Classes of 2009 that a life marked by service to others is, statistically and anecdotally, a happy one. "I hope your happiness index takes from Henry David Thoreau's guidance: 'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.'"

More than 4,000 HWS community members gathered on the Quad as Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P'95, P'97, HON '07 and William Smith Dean Cerri Banks HON '09 presented 185 Hobart seniors and 249 William Smith seniors with bachelor's degrees. Provost and Dean of Faculty Teresa Amott also awarded nine Master of Arts in Teaching degrees and one Ontario ARC College Experience Certificate.

During the Commencement ceremony, Gearan also presented honorary degrees to four deserving community members, including Geneva children's advocate Jane Rea Gerling, local civic leader Rev. W. James Gerling and environmental activist Carol M. Browner.

One honorary degree was posthumously bestowed upon Trustee C. Dixon Kunzelmann '64, P'93, who recently passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Honored for his loyal service to and leadership of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Kunzelmann was remembered as a true and loyal son of Hobart.

"Mr. Kunzelmann was a trusted colleague to our Trustees and a passionate advocate to these Colleges," said Gearan. "We will miss him deeply."

 

To view or purchase photos, watch video clips and read stories about Senior Week and Commencement 2009, click here.