Five Hundred Eighty Five Students Graduate From Trinity College
By MICHAEL WALSH
May 20, 2012
HARTFORD— — As 585 students received their Trinity College diplomas Sunday, Paul Raether, the chairman of the school's board of trustees, reminded them that Trinity will always be a welcoming home.
"As you head out today ... please remember that Trinity is forever home," Raether said. "[Trinity is] a place where the door is always open; where there is a large welcoming extended family that will welcome you back again and again."
Students, faculty, family and friends congregated on the college's quad lawn to celebrate the Class of 2012. It was the same place where the classmates sat four years earlier during their freshman convocation.
Things also came full circle for the students with commencement speaker Anne Fadiman. The author spoke to the graduates four years ago when they were freshmen. She even remembered the date: Aug. 28, 2008.
"I feel that in some way you are mine ... and I am yours," Fadiman told the graduating class. "You may not remember me, but I most definitely remember you."
As freshmen, the students were assigned to read Fadiman's "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down." Fadiman told the graduates who sat before her that they were a beautiful sight and she was honored to complete the circle.
Fadiman's speech Sunday centered on understanding different people and being able to step back and look at a situation or relationship from a distance.
"Don't assume that you ... stand at the center of the universe. It isn't true and it never helps," said Fadiman. "It's something I told you four years ago, but I believe you can understand it better now."
Fadiman didn't end her speech without giving the graduates some advice for the future.
"After you graduate today you will enter a difficult world," she said. "But even though it contains violence and greed and apathy and anger ... I have faith that you will come through."
John Wilsterman, from New Jersey, graduated with degrees in economics and psychology. He addressed his fellow graduates, making a point about the positives and negatives of efficiency in the modern world.
"Efficiency is a double-edged sword," Wilsterman said. "It's great to be economical when it comes to school, work and chores, and I encourage all of you to do so. However, there are times approaching ... where [you] must actively avoid being efficient."
Wilsterman told the graduates to not be efficient when it comes to relationships, friendships and partnerships. "Heed my warning, do not be efficient with these," said Wilsterman.
"Do not forget about the care, compassion and support you have felt these past four years," said Wilsterman. "Those feelings should not disappear as the miles between us grow."
Five students were unable to complete the 186-year tradition of touching the same historic book that graduates all touch before receiving their diplomas. The five who missed graduation were busy winning the Division III women's lacrosse national championship. Trinity defeated Salisbury University 8-7 in New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.
The rest of the graduates who were in Hartford on Sunday heard some final words from Fadiman to take home.
"Be open, not closed," Fadiman said. "Resolve conflicts, not inflame them. Be so honest in all your dealings. And find the common ground by acknowledging that your way may not be the way."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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