May 11, 2013
Warm wishes and not-too-cool weather suffused the campus as the 320 members of the Class of 2013 celebrated Commencement on May 11. It was the last Commencement for President Donna Randall, who will begin her off-campus duties as Albion College Chancellor in July.
Senior speaker Michael Albani acknowledged that within the diversity of his classmates' education, all were taught, most importantly, how to think. "We can face the many challenges of the world because we can examine the world with a critical eye, and not just accept its many dilemmas as inevitable realities," Albani noted. "[We will] formulate rich and inventive ideas about solutions and, translate those ideas into action."
Along with celebrating its graduates, Albion acknowledged sociology professor Len Berkey's 35 years of service with the granting of professor emeritus status. Class of 1981 valedictorian and Herschend Family Entertainment CEO Joel Manby was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters prior to delivering the Commencement address.
In addressing the Class of 2013, Manby used a number of personal examples, from playing basketball against high school phenomenon Magic Johnson to overseeing the disintegration of a dot-com startup, to underscore the importance of developing a strongly principled core. "You can't know what you want out of a job until you know what you want out of life," he said. Furthermore, he encouraged students to consider who they wanted to be, as much as what they wanted to do, citing his own life as an example.
"Once I got to Herschend, I finally confirmed in my heart what I suspect I always knew: my passion is to be a leader who cares about others and still has a successful enterprise," said Manby. "I finally started focusing just as much on my 'be' goals as my 'do' goals."
In closing, Manby asked the students to "remember, you have been blessed in many ways; don’t forget to share that blessing with others."
Religious studies professor Jocelyn McWhirter, who greeted the students at their 2009 matriculation, closed the Commencement by reminding students that "the world isn't about you; it's about everyone and everything in it," she said. She encouraged the graduates to continue to expand their understanding of the world through "befriending," reading, travel and service. "If you take those four ideas and add an 'I,' you get: Befriend. Read. I. Travel. Service. Look at the first letters of those words," she said. "Go Brits."