Albion College Celebrates Its Class of 2016 at Commencement

May 7, 2016

The commencement stage.
Smiling students in their caps and gowns.
A student in a cap and gown hugging someone.
A student in a cap and gown.
Someone in a gown.
A musician blowing into an instrument.
A student in cap and gown speaking into a microphone.
One student holding a large wind instrument while another student blows into it.
A decorated cap.
A student hugging someone.

By Jake Weber

A glorious spring day provided the perfect backdrop as Albion celebrated Commencement for the 260 members of its Class of 2016.

The day also marked the second consecutive year that Commencement was also game day for Albion College lacrosse teams. The four seniors on the women’s lacrosse team received their diplomas first and left the ceremony early, in order to prepare for league championship play later in the afternoon (the men’s team was also to play for the league championship later in the evening—both games were at home). In 2015, men’s lacrosse seniors were given a special day-early ceremony, in order to compete in an NCAA tournament match in Ohio on the day of Albion’s 2015 Commencement.

President Mauri Ditzler hailed some impressive plans for the Class of 2016, which includes a Fulbright Teaching Fellow (who will work in Mexico), a Peace Corps volunteer (headed for the West African country of Guinea), the recipient of a fully funded Ph.D. sociology program in North Carolina, and others beginning careers in business, banking and education.

“We are incredibly proud of all that you have achieved and know that even more impressive accomplishments are yet to come,” Ditzler said.

In her remarks, senior speaker Candace Cullens, ’16, noted that “if we wanted the easy path, we could have attended [a different school],” evoking a laugh and cheers from the audience.

But “we came to Albion and chose the difficult path,” Cullens said. “For four years, we led organizations; we made the connection with the community stronger; we challenged our ways of thinking. We learned many hard lessons through late-night studying, countless meetings and early morning practices. And now it’s time to apply those lessons learned, Class of 2016. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be great.”

Noted surgeon and medical researcher Robert H. “Bob” Bartlett, ’60, received an honorary doctorate and addressed the seniors on the opportunities that come to those who are prepared. Bartlett underscored his topic with stories of his days as an Albion undergraduate and young doctor, when he began developing the medical procedure that would revolutionize care of critically premature infants and other fragile patients.

“There will be times in your life when opportunity and circumstance coincide, and there will be a time to solve a problem, and that will make you feel really good. Albion has prepared your mind and soul to make that happen,” Bartlett said. “You may not realize it at the time that it’s happening, but remember that any time may be a magic time and you should cherish it.”

Chemistry professor Lisa Lewis delivered the faculty farewell, on the topic of “sympathetic imagination.” She gave this idea to the class during her faculty welcome to them in 2012, and encouraged them to always value the perspectives of others.

“Be kind,” Lewis said for her last lesson. “Use that sympathetic imagination for good. Remember that words matter. You leave a little bit of you with everyone you interact with.

“We hope you know your future means a lot to us,” Lewis concluded. “Make it fulfilling, make it impactful, and you’d better come back to visit!”