News Archive

Senior Speaker Selection

student speaker

Each year a member of the graduating class has the opportunity to share his or her thoughts and wisdom during the welcome at Commencement. It is a unique opportunity and honor to be selected to participate in this manner and to represent your peers.

Selection Process

  • The selected speaker must be graduating with honors (minimum of cum laude designation), with a Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

  • The selected speaker must be in good social standing with the College and not on social probation.

  • Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017. Once you turn in your application, you will receive an email from the senior speaker project coordinator, giving you an audition time. Simply reply to the email to confirm your audition. Candidates will give their entire speech to the selection committee.

  • There is no set topic or focus for the remarks; however, candidates should approach their speech in a manner that conveys an appreciation of the event, Commencement at Albion College. Presentations will be judged on appropriate preparation, speech construction, topic, and relevance of remarks for the Commencement occasion and presentation of delivery. The speech is limited to five minutes in length.

  • All candidates will be notified of the selected speaker.

  • The selected speech will receive feedback from the selection committee regarding content and presentation. Areas of attention will be suggested by the selection committee and the speaker is asked to consider all comments. A representative from the selection committee who is a member of the communications art faculty will be available for consultation prior to Commencement.

Questions regarding this process should be directed to the Office of Campus Programs and Organizations at ext. 0433 or at .

Past Student Speakers

  • Candance J. Cullens, '16
  • Bailey A. Judson, '15
  • Shonté Daniels, '14
  • Michael Albani, '13
  • Aaron Croad, '12
  • Caryn A. Miller, '11
  • Erika A. Nichols, '10
  • Hannah L. Scheiwe, '09
  • Lindsay A. Davis, '08
  • Hanna E. Robey, '07
  • Amanda K. Cross, '06
  • William R. Green, '05
  • Kelsey L. Hulse, '04
  • Alex T. Carroll, '03

Albion Connection Stories

It seems that every Albion College student, alum, faculty, staff, parent or friend has made an Albion Connection at some point in their life. Perhaps you met somebody in an airport with an Albion sweatshirt on, or you work with somebody that you later discovered was an Albion alum, or you met your sweetheart on the quad. What is YOUR Albion Connection?

Mary Hance '90

About 15 years ago I was working in Washington, DC - right across the street from the Capitol. After work, a friend (who went to Stanford) and I would go for a run down the Mall. This friend enjoyed teasing me about the college that I went to that no one had heard of. Well, what a treat it was that on the night of our first run, an older couple stopped me on the Mall (of course I had my Albion sweatshirt on) and said "Wow, Albion College!" My response was "You've heard of it?" They said, "Heard of it, we both went there!" Of course, in all of our runs, no one stopped the guy with the Stanford sweatshirt on!!

Catherine Stilwill '75

Dick and I met my freshman year. We talked a bit at some functions but it wasn't until my senior year that we had our first date with each other. About 18 months later we got married and have been married 34 years now and have 3 sons, Blake'02, Chris, & Ben. Dick & Cathy Stilwill '74 & '75.

Joanne MacDonald  '51

I fel in love with my future husband, Richard MacDonald "48" at the Freshman Mixer. He and a friend were interested in the new crop of girls entering for the first time int the winter of 1947 due to the influx of GIs enrollment. Our relationship was furthered by many meetings at the "Eat Shop" and resulted in a marriage two months short of 60 years.

Bob & Janie Bellairs '70

I saw ourselves the other night while walking on the sands I know it was us alright 'cause they were holding hands The fact that they were old They really didn't know The love that flowed between them Had taken time to grow It wasn't puppy love That walked across the sand It was timeless true and gold That flowed from hand to hand When we were married years ago I dreamed of ocean's sand And us- white hair with age Walking - hand in hand Bob Bellairs, 1970 proposed December 1, 1969 and married Janie on June 29, 1970.

Ed and Ginnie Edwardson '68

Congratulations to Albion College on your 175th Anniversary. We have just celebrated our 42nd anniversary, and Albion College had everything to do with our meeting, courtship, engagement, and, marriage. As we reflect back on it, we are certainly amazed that the first ever Albion College Computer Dance held on February 8, 1967 at Baldwin Hall was the event that brought us together. Ginnie, a Kappa Delta, had dated some of my Delta Sigma Phi fraternity brothers, and we even sat next to each other at a Delt Sig formal. The magic of MSU's mainframe (Albion College did not have a computer at that time.)matched us up as "ideal dates". What a way to meet. We're not sure whether or not anyone else at the dance ever had a second date, but it sure has worked for us for 42 years. We are thankful for the wonderful education afforded us by Albion. We are forever grateful for our alma mater sponsoring a dance that has lasted a lifetime. Io Triumphe! Ginnie Frost Edwardson (‘68) Ed Edwardson ("67)

JoanHillJoan Hill ' 58

My husband and I hold the Stockwell Library near and dear to our hearts. One Spring day in 1956 I was coming down the library steps at the same time that a boy named Peter Hill was coming up. For some reason I gave him a big smile. He smiled back and shortly after I got back to the dorm he called and asked me for a date. He was interested in art, so we went to see a Paul Klee show which was being shown at the library. That was the first of many dates, most of which were in the library. We studied and got to know each other and by the time Peter's graduation rolled around in June we were in love. We've been married now for over 50 years and we have 6 kids and 16 grandkids to show for it. When we attended Peter's 50th reunion in 2006 one of the first things we did was visit the library and get our picture taken on the steps. What wonderful memories that brought back.

Jim Royle '63Jim Royale2

We were two frightened young college freshman in September of 1959, standing in the hallway outside the studio door of Professor David Strickler, waiting to audition for the Albion College Choir. It was only the second day on campus for both of us. Coming from opposite sides of the state of Michigan, we did not know each other but had shared (though we did nit know it at the time) a love of choral music performance as high school students. There was "magic' in that first meeting. I know that I wanted to spend more time with this dark haired girl with the beautiful smile...and the feeling seemed to be mutual. She accepted my offer of a date for the freshman mixer and neither of us ever looked back. I gave her my fraternity pin the following year and an engagement ring the year after that. The editor of the 1963 Albionian asked us to pose for a picture to be used on the inside covers of the book for that year...because we "were the most likely couple to still be together by the time that yearbook came out to print"...and together we stayed. We were married a few weeks after graduation. We sang together in the college choir and Carol singers (smaller group) throughout our college years...and have been "making music" together for nearly 50 years now.

James R. Lampman

My wife and I met at Albion, at choir, if you please! As it so happens, she was a Home Economics Major and I was a Chemistry major. Hence, when we met at choir rehearsal, she generally brought along some goody that she had prepared at class that afternoon. I brought nothing but my appetite. Due to finances, I worked between years, while she graduated before I did. I served two years in Guam, during the way, and lost track of her. When I returned to my parent's home, in Monroe, Michigan, my mother pointed out to me an article in the paper which told about Jeanne serving as a consultant for Consumer's Power right there in Monroe! Needless to day, I got in touch with her and, after I got a job, we were married in January of 1948. Sixty two years later, we are now in a retirement community in Lynchburg, Virginia and happy to be together.

Kristin Rahn '99

My husband and I met through Sigma Nu, since we were both good friends with the then-President, Jason Prater. My husband later returned the favor by introducing Jason to his wife! The Sigma Nu house will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Ruth and Jim Barrett '54

Jim Barrett and I came to Albion in 1950 as high school friends. Four years later, we graduated with the class of 1954. Shared friendships, challenging classes, interesting Greek experiences and many part time jobs made them wonderful years. We became engaged in Victory Park our last year, and married two weeks after graduation. Within a year, we were living in California where Jim served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Ord for two years. Our lives kept crossing paths with Albion Alumni there. Returning to Illinois in 1957, our civilian life began. Jim in the life insurance and investment world sales, while Ruth oversaw home and family life as four sons were born in the following 13 years. Family life kept us on our toes, but allowed Ruth time to work for the United Methodist Church in early childhood education for 20 years. Our grandchildren began arriving in our life in 1991, adding a wonderful new energy to our world. We were living in Cary, Illiinois, within an hour's drive to all six grandchildren. We had both retired in 1998, sold our home and now divide our year between our family cottage in Glenn, Michigan and our retirement home in Green Valley, Arizona. Our life together has been rich in so many ways--our education, our children, grandchildren and our ongoing relationship with strong Christian congregations. We have truly been blessed in our 55 years of marriage. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to share our love story!

Mike Hegedus '71

A Journey of 42 years starts with one question. What time is it? Jan Bird ('71) and I spent two years at the same high school, Bloomfield Hills, and didn't know it. But the summer of 1967 we both attended a party for foreign exchange students and met briefly. I asked her what time it was, touched her wrist, and was smitten. But hey--I was off to college and I had no idea where this adorable girl was headed in the Fall. Two weeks later I left for summer football camp at Albion, the town of my birth, and a few weeks after that, along with a couple of my teammates, was standing around as the rest of the incoming freshmen were registering for class. Guess who was standing in the A-E line? Jan Bird, the same girl with that great wrist. Thanks to a couple of friends on both sides, we were introduced again, had our first date on December 8, 1967, a Cowsills Concert (don't ask), and in the the lightly falling snow we walked back across the Quad after the show and into the rest of our lives together. We are still together. We were married on June 26, 1971 and after living in some of the greatest cities in the world, we are now in Chicago. But one town will always be our most favorite. One place will always mean more to us than any other. That place is Albion. Hey, how often to you get to see the Cowsills?!?!

TealJen Austin Teal, '00

 After I graduated in 2000, I stayed in touch with several friends who had moved to the Detroit area, including Jamie (Justus) Rawcliffe, who worked with another 1999 grad. One evening, I met her at her office to go out together, and she introduced me to Derrick Teal. Jamie ended up giving him my phone number, and five years later, we were married.

Chris Tuck, '86 and Missy Zimmerman Tuck, '87


Missy Zimmerman Tuck, '87

I met my husband, Chris Tuck (1986) on my first day at Albion. The freshmen moved in first and the TKE's had a welcome party. We started dating on September 12, 1983 and got married on September 12, 1987. Interestingly enough, my parents David and Judy Davies Zimmerman (1963) also met at Albion. We'll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary the same year that my parents celebrate their 50th! My Father-in-law, David Roger Tuck (1952) was also an Albion grad! Albion truly brought our family together!


Marcy and Jordan Lindberg '91

Jordan and I met our freshman year (because he was dating a woman on my hall), but it was our senior year before we got to know each other. Our different groups of friends started crossing paths, and we all hung out a lot at the annex where I was living (now the coffee house on Jackson St). Our first official date was the Kappa Delta winter formal which we attended after I had a grueling day taking the GREs. (Neither of us were Greek but we got invited--thanks KD friends!) We weren't sure what would happen after graduation, but, after a year spent in different states, we still wanted to be together. So we got married in 1993 and were serenaded with the Io Triumphe chant by our Albion friends as we walked out of the church. We sent our wedding photo with Albion alums into the alumni magazine and started the trend of putting wedding photos in the Io. Although between us, we've now attended three different grad schools, our "alumni hearts" belong to Albion.

Beth and Dan McCarty '98McCarty

I met my husband my jr. his soph. years at Albion College. Dan McCarty and I met going from Baldwin to Whitehouse. My suitemate introduced him to me and we have been together ever since. We were married in 2006 and our only child, so far, a son, Jack will celebrate his first birthday this Friday, Feb. 19th!! I will always be thankful for Albion College for introducing me to my husband, Dan McCarty Jr.

Marjory Priest '57

I met my husband my Junior year at Albion. We met at a Methodist Student Movement gathering at Bellemont Manor. I had seen him before as he was one of the angels in the play My Three Angels put on that year. Our first date was a Hawaiian Luau at Dean Hall. We were married after I graduated in l957. Don graduated in l958. We have been married for 52 years. My parents met at Albion in l92l and married in l926. They lived to celebrate a 60th. Anniversary. Both of our children went to Albion College. It is fun to gather with friends from Dean Hall every couple of years.

Robert and Carol Jones '69

Carol and I first met at the beginning of the 1965-66 school year during a meeting at the Methodist Church for those interested in teaching Sunday school. She came up to me and said "Bob Jones, I'm Carol Moss and I just wanted to meet a freshman boy that wanted to teach Sunday school." Carol lived in the Girl's German House, now a parking on Oswego Street, across the street from the Methodist Church. The Girl's in the German House ate at Baldwin Dining Hall, with the freshman boys. I was part of a group of pre-ministerial students, nick-named the "God Squad." During that fall the girls in the German House began hanging out with the "God Squad." We would eat together; get together at the Girl's German House for "hootenannies" and playing bridge and other games like "pass-the-bod." We were active together in the German Club, the Albion Methodist Church and MSM, and once or twice we joined in protests against the Viet Nam War. We fondly remember VIM week (God is Dead, and Situation Ethics) were two of the topics we remember. By the spring of 1966 I gave Carol a lavaliere; we were pinned the next fall; engaged a year later, and married after Carol's graduation. A year later (after I graduated) I went to Garret Seminary, and the rest is history.

2010 Young Alumni Award Recipients

The Albion College Alumni Association Board of Directors presented the first annual Young Alumni Awards: Top 10 in '10 during ceremonies on Friday, April 23, 2010. These awards recognize Albion College graduates from the last ten years with notable endeavors in the areas of career achievement, continued education, community service, and/or commitment to their alma mater. The event honoring graduates from 2000-09 was held in conjunction with the Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium.

Top 10 in 2010 Young Alumni Award Recipients:

Nate Sowa '03Nate Sowa '03 Chapel Hill, NC
M.D. candidate, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Albion major: Biology

Sowa did both undergraduate and graduate research with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda before beginning a combined Ph.D./M.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sowa finished in the top two of his medical school class during the pre-clinical years, earning the David R. Clemmons and Francis S. Collins Loyalty Fund Merit Scholarship. Simultaneously completing a doctoral thesis in neurobiology, Sowa studied nervous system proteins that might transform chronic pain therapy. His discoveries led to the publication of four papers, including a cover feature in the prestigious journal Neuron. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provided Sowa with a fellowship to fund his dissertation research and two full years of his medical school education. In addition, he won a University of North Carolina Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award, and has been nominated for the Linda Dykstra Distinguished Dissertation Award. More importantly, Sowa's work has led to further collaborations with researchers and pharmaceutical companies to develop his findings into safe drugs for the treatment of pain. Sowa is spending the spring of 2010 doing AIDS research in Africa.

Allison Beers '01 Allison Beers '01 Traverse City, MI
Owner, Events North, Traverse City, Mich.
Albion majors: English and Speech Communication

Beers worked in events management in Philadelphia and taught events management certification classes at Temple University before founding Traverse City-based Events North, an events management company specializing in corporate, nonprofit, and social events and meetings. She was named one of the "40 Most Influential People Under 40" in the Grand Traverse region by the Traverse City Business News in 2008 and 2009. Events North was nominated for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, and Beers is a finalist for Michigan Meeting & Events Magazine's Best Meeting/Event Planner award. Beers teaches events management courses at Northwestern Michigan College, covering legal and insurance issues along with industry resources and trends involving diet, nutrition and event planning. She sits on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan, and volunteers with Traverse City organizations including the Women's Resource Center, Chamber of Commerce, Cherry Festival and Traverse City Film Festival. She is a contributing writer for Meetings & Events.


Yukiko Tanaka '02 Yukiko Tanaka '02 New York, NY
Musician/Concert Pianist, New York, N.Y.
Albion major: Music

Tanaka's current career as an orchestral soloist, chamber ensemble member and accompanist was jump-started with her 2005 win in the 33rd Artist International Audition and subsequent sold-out, critically-acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut. She has performed in Canada, Spain, Japan, and in many venues across the U.S. She released her first CD, Yukiko Plays Mozart, Ravel, Albeniz and Granados, in 2007. Tanaka is also on the piano faculty of Long Island University and is music director at St, John’s Episcopal Church in Union City, N.J. She frequently volunteers her talents at libraries, retirement homes, hospitals, churches, and public schools, for educational and philanthropic functions. With a great interest in the classical piano music of Spain and South America, she travels a few times each year to the Academia Marshall-Granados in Barcelona to study and has met and worked with composers from South America. Tanaka holds a master's degree in music and piano performance from City University of New York Brooklyn College where she studied with German Diez.


Sam Hogg '05Sam Hogg '05 East Lansing, MI
Founder and CEO,, Lansing, Mich.; Market Specialist, NextEnergy, Detroit, Mich.
Albion major: Political Science

A graduate of the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University, Hogg coordinated LEED certification for Albion's Science Complex as an employee with Christman Company. He has also worked for Vail Resorts as an associate environmental manager and the MSU Foundation commercializing university research. A graduate class challenge to create a business around efficiency and sustainability led Hogg to launch, a virtual gift card kiosk in November 2008. He and were Michigan Business Review’s “Most Innovative Business” in 2009 and were runner-up “Best New Business Idea” in the 2009 Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest competition. Hogg was featured in the November 2009 and April 2010 issues of Entrepreneur Magazine. Hogg helped establish a $20,000 endowed scholarship for Albion's Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Levi Straight '04Levi Straight '04 Baltimore, MD
Math Department Chair and Math Instructional Support Teacher, Northwestern High School, Baltimore, Md.
Albion major: Mathematics

A high school educator in Baltimore City Public Schools since graduating from Albion, Straight has worked tirelessly with teachers and students to raise test scores, graduation rates and math skills of his students. Beyond the classroom, Straight coaches varsity baseball and junior varsity and varsity football. Further, he has served as class chairman, organized proms and school events, accepted vacant coaching positions for girls’ soccer and swimming and worked nights and weekends tutoring students. Straight is a regional trainer for Texas Instruments. He was chosen by his peers to receive the Reginald F. Lewis Outstanding Mathematics Teacher Award in addition to being named W.E.B. Dubois High School Teacher of the Year for 2005–2006.

Ligia Paina '05Ligia Paina '05 Washington, DC
Doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
Albion major: International Studies

In 2007, while working on her master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, Paina participated in the Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program working on immigrant and refugee health care needs. As a doctoral student, she has a research assistantship, assessing U.S. National Institutes of Health training programs for researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paina previously spent two years traveling around the world for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), assisting local health care providers in bringing better care to their communities. USAID granted her their Exemplary Achievement Award for her contributions to the Global Health Bureau and for her involvement in the Health Systems 20/20 Project. Paina also previously served the French Ministry of Education Academy of Orleans-Tours in Lucé, France as an English language assistant.

Catherine Fontana '08Catherine Fontana '08 New Haven, CT
Doctoral student, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, Conn.
Albion majors: English and Biology

As a 2008 George Mitchell scholar, Fontana received her master’s degree in environmental science from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. In her first semester of graduate school, she developed and coined a new theory in microbial ecology – "climate history" – which suggests that microbes' basic and survival mechanisms were strongly influenced by exposure to different climates and that these influences can still be detected today. The Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies is currently funding this research, and Fontana also holds a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Fontana tutors at New Haven Reads, an afterschool homework help and literacy non-profit organization, and at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. She is a volunteer and docent-in-training at the Yale Peabody Museum which recently hosted an exhibit of Fontana's current climate history work. A former Mortar Board president at Albion, she is working with Louisiana Mortar Board Chapters, particularly at Tulane University, to organize a book drive for the Andrew H. Wilson School in New Orleans, reopened in January 2010 with the help of the US-Ireland Alliance and the 2001-2009 classes of George J. Mitchell scholars.


Anna Gladstone '06Anna Gladstone '06 Grosse Pointe, MI
D.O. candidate, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing, Mich.
Albion majors: Biology and Art

Despite losing part of her leg shortly after graduating from Albion College, Gladstone has demonstrated an ability not simply to achieve, but excel, in the rigorous challenge of medical school. She currently serves as the Class of 2012 president of the American Holistic Medical Association chapter at Michigan State University, and is active in the Undergraduate Academy of American Osteopathy. Also a committed volunteer, Gladstone works with medical mission trips and community medicine clinics, and has participated in domestic and international service trips as both a participant and a leader/counselor. Gladstone is the daughter of the late Joe Stroud, former Detroit Free Press editor and director of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy.

Nicholas Whitney '00Nicholas Whitney '00 Bradenton, FL
Postdoctoral Scientist, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, Fla.
Albion major: Biology

Whitney's current research uses accelerometers (the same technology used in iPods and the Nintendo Wii) to study fine-scale behaviors in sharks, and has expanded his work to include sea turtles and Burmese pythons. Now in his second decade of shark research, Whitney has been awarded more than 15 competitive research grants totaling nearly $200,000. His work has appeared in many scientific and popular publications including Hawaii Skin Diver, Endangered Species Research, Environmental Conservation and the Marine Ecology Progress Series. A recipient of master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Whitney has authored seven peer-reviewed scientific papers and presents research at national conferences.

James Gignac '01James Gignac '01 Chicago, IL
Midwest Director, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign, Chicago, Ill.
Albion majors: History and Political Science

In his work with the Sierra Club, Gignac helps coordinate and manage the Beyond Coal campaign’s legal, organizing, and communications activities across a fourteen-state region. Gignac's interest in environmental law was sparked at Albion, through an environmental history course and participation in multidisciplinary summer research projects on a local watershed. At Harvard Law School, Gignac served as executive director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, was elected president of the Harvard Environmental Law Society, and received a Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. After graduation from Harvard, Gignac spent a year as a judicial law clerk for the Alaska Supreme Court, then worked as an associate in the environmental practice group with the law firm of Mayer Brown, LLP in Chicago. Gignac returned to campus in 2009 as the Elkin Isaac Alumni Lecturer, part of the Elkin R. Isaac Research Symposium.

Alumni Awards

Trophies at the 2013 DAA ceremony.

Two ceremonies. Immeasurable alumni excellence.

Make a Nomination

We’re proud to honor our outstanding alumni through two memorable events each year. First, the Distinguished Alumni Awards honor accomplished alumni for excellence in leadership. Recipients have made outstanding contributions to their professions. Meritorious Service Awards, when presented, are given to alumni for their leadership, dedicated service to others, and support of Albion College initiatives. The Young Alumni Awards are presented to alumni who have achieved great success in their first ten years after graduation from Albion.

Read about the 2017 award recipients

Next, the Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony honors individuals and teams for their distinguished achievements in or service to Briton athletics.

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