Five Hundred Forty-one Seniors Receive Degrees At Trinity College Graduation
By CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN
May 20, 2013
HARTFORD — – Family members, friends and faculty gathered beneath Trinity College's fabled elms Sunday to witness 541 seniors receive degrees at the institution's 187th commencement.
Cool breezes, intermittent sprinkles and a gray sky failed to dampen spirits during the approximately two hour-long ceremony.
The bells of Trinity Chapel chimed as women dressed in willowy summer dresses in defiance of the chill and men in blazers and ties, many of them gold and blue for the school's colors, gathered on the college's main quadrangle. Perfume and cologne scented the air as the crowd milled in anticipation of the ceremony.
A bagpipe band led the graduates, dressed in traditional black robes and mortarboards, down the college's Luther-Roosevelt Long Walk to their seats under the towering elm trees at the quadrangle's center. Before them and overseeing the ceremonies stood an imposing statute of Bishop Thomas Church Brownell, who founded the liberal arts college in 1823, his arm extended as if to the future.
Addressing her classmates, senior Irenae Allyson Aigbedion confessed that graduation made her knees quake.
"I fear uncertainty," Aigbedion said. "I fear failure."
But Aigbedion noted that she and her classmates had overcome fear and uncertainty as freshmen. Ultimately, they had excelled and would do so again out in the world, she said.
"I challenge the Class of 2013 never to allow fear to hold you down," Aigbedion said.
She urged the graduating students to focus on hope and to find their places in the world.
"If we can't find it, we will carve it out for ourselves," she said.
Commencement speaker Bridget Mary McCormack, a 1988 Trinity graduate who in 2012 was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court, urged parents and graduates to "savor this moment. Burn it into your memory banks."
McCormack, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree Sunday, provided the young men and women with three insights: Life is shorter than you think; have a plan, but be flexible; and the greatest rewards come from helping others.
"You have all been lucky in life's lottery, blessed with talent and privilege and now armed with the skills to make the most of these," she said. "So don't waste time. Set your course. Don't be afraid to call an audible. And find ways to use the values your parents have taught you — and the skills the Trinity faculty have taught you — to work for some greater good."
Rapid technological changes and advances of recent years present graduates with unprecedented opportunities, McCormack said.
"New tools make you more powerful like no generation before you," she said.
The college awarded bachelor of arts or science degrees to 541 seniors Sunday. In addition, 25 graduate students received master's degrees in public policy, English, American studies or economics.
Also receiving honorary degrees were 1988 Democratic presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, Yale Divinity School Professor Margaret Ann Farley and journalist and author Elizabeth Kolbert.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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