Class of 2019 Celebrates Commencement

May 6, 2019

By Jake Weber

Watch the video replay on Youtube

The sun shined brightly on the Quad as families, friends and loved ones celebrated Albion College’s Class of 2019 at Commencement on May 4.

According to psychology professor Drew Christopher, Albion College’s Commencement on Saturday, May 4, marked the end of the Class of 2019’s 1,352-day career. More than 330 graduates were celebrated on the almost perfect spring day in Albion.

Sarah Finn, ’19, gave the Senior Class Address in front of Kresge Gymnasium.

Senior speaker Sarah Finn, ’19, pointed out a distinctive trait. “We don’t just say, ‘Yes.’ We say, ‘Yes, and…’ she explained. “We say, ‘Yes, I am in Greek life…and lacrosse, and Ford, and jazz band, and Brit Knits.’ We say, ‘Yes, I work two jobs…and I conducted and presented research for Elkin Isaac.’ We say, ‘Yes, I disagree with parts of campus life…and I’m going to do something about it.’ We also sometimes say, ‘Yes, let’s go to the brewery…and while we’re at it, let’s go to ‘Relli’s, too’—but that’s another story.”

Finn continued: “We may be leaving our clubs, our organizations, our institutes and our leadership positions, but whether we’re starting grad school, or a new job, or still have absolutely no clue, we will always be Albion students: the type of people who say, ‘Yes, I graduated from Albion College…and’—I’ll let you fill in the rest.”

For his Commencement address, recently retired Briton football coach Craig Rundle, ’74, noted that he “didn’t want to give advice that would result in someone failing at some point in their career. When I realized that you probably wouldn’t remember a word I said, the pressure was off,” Rundle joked. “I can say anything I want and it won’t make any difference.”

In true coach fashion, Rundle (who also spoke the day before in a ceremony for the eight graduating seniors on the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams ahead of their league tournament matches Saturday) acknowledged the graduates’ upcoming challenges while simultaneously encouraging them to do more. “It is hard when you are starting a new job or trying to be successful in grad school to think about anything other than your own performance,” he said. Nonetheless, he added, “make an intentional choice today that you are going to “pay it forward” and be a “life enhancer” for the people in your future. Go out and do for others what somebody did for you.”

Letting the moment sink in during the Processional at 2019 Commencement.

Pharmaceutical executive Barbara Weiskittel, ’83, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony and also addressed the graduating class. “It’s simple. This is your home,” stated Weiskittel, an Albion native who, despite pursuing an internationally focused career and living in New Jersey, continues to hold both emotional and philanthropic ties to her hometown and alma mater. “Before you came to Albion, your home was your friends, your family, your neighborhood,” she noted. “Albion became your home of exploration, of learning, of new friendships and seeing things you never knew before.

“Remember Albion. Treasure it. Come back and visit it,” Weiskittel encouraged. “And, importantly, be a part of it.”

In his faculty farewell, Christopher reminded the graduates of his message at their matriculation nearly four years ago: “The only stupid question is, ‘Will this be on the exam?’ There’s no such thing in life as trivial knowledge, trivial skills, trivial experiences. You never know when you’re going to need to know something in the future,” he said. “I told you four years ago you could fill Ford Field with what I don’t know. Well, that’s spilled out into the parking lot. But I still want to continue to learn new things and I hope you will as well.”

“Many of you have more questions than answers as you leave here today,” he concluded. “That’s fantastic. You have questions, but you also know how to find answers. You know how to answer questions that other people don’t even know how to ask. Go out and solve.”