Above, watch a special photo slideshow video for the Class of 2017’s commencement day.
2 p.m., Saturday, May 13, 2017
President Benjamin Akande’s remarks
What a proud day this is for Westminster and for you, the graduating class of 2017. Mark Twain said it well: “The two most important days in our life are the day we are born and the day we discover the reason why.”
When you first came to Westminster, some of you knew what path you wanted to take. Some of you came to us looking for direction, and whatever the case, Westminster enabled you to find the purpose in each of yourselves — the support, the resources, and the guidance to bring out your unique talents.
As you prepare to leave us, allow me to offer a few words of wisdom:
- Opportunities will come, but they are going to be disguised as something else. So, when you encounter opportunity, grab hold of it.
- If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
- Your greatest accomplishments are those you earn.
- You are never too young to dream or too old to make your dreams come true.
- We were all born originals, yet often, too many people spend their entire life trying to be a copy. So stay an original.
The faculty, staff, and alumni of Westminster College are unified toward one goal: to provide the intensive focus and clarity you need to take ownership of your future.
I want to appeal to you to lead with strong character, with strong principles, possessed of the will to make a difference in whatever endeavor you pursue.
She has seen it all, from the classroom to the boardroom, first as a professor, then as the chair of the English Department, and now as a member of the cabinet and the dean of faculty. I call her “the gentle giant” because she approaches every challenge with gentility, patience, and diplomacy, but just below the surface is a strength of principles and ideas that is gigantic and unwavering.
Her influence on the college has been immeasurable. She has played key roles in hiring quality faculty, designing our undergraduate scholars forum, creating the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement and its international initiatives, developing online courses, and strengthening the programs in our Tomnitz Family Learning Opportunities Center.
But where Dr. Perry really stands above the rest is in her daily interaction with students, parents, professors, staff, administrators, trustees, and anyone whom she meets on campus.
Everyone receives the same respect and attention, no matter what their status or disposition. And that is why she is universally loved by all.
She embodies Westminster’s core values, and it is my honor to have her inspire our 2017 graduates with her wisdom today.
It is my great privilege to present to you our 2017 commencement speaker, Westminster College’s Senior Vice President, Dean of Faculty and Professor of English, Dr. Carolyn Perry.