Graduating seniors honor loved ones at 14th annual Honor Walk
On Saturday, May 21, 243 members of the Class of 2016—like 13 graduating classes before them—gathered to honor the people who have made an impact on their lives during the 14th annual Honor Walk.
Since it was introduced in 2002, Honor Walk has quickly become a cherished Centre tradition. In the fall of each academic year, Centre President John A. Roush presents each member of the senior class with a “talent”—a coin with Old Centre on one side and the College seal on the other. The seniors have the entire academic year to decide whom to give their talent to—be they family, friends, professors, coaches or classmates—on the weekend they will graduate.
“The Honor Walk is a magic moment each year for Susie and me,” says President Roush. “Watching our soon-to-be-graduates honor the men and women who were impact players in their lives is a joy. One never tires of observing gratitude, and that’s what happens during Honor Walk over and over and over. A great night of thanks and affection—a great night for Centre!”
The Honor Walk traditionally takes place in Old Centre, where the seniors walk through Old Centre’s front door and through its foyer. After passing through the back door and down the steps, stopping in front of Centre’s beloved seal, the seniors finally pass their talents on to those they chose to honor.
Due to rain, this year’s Honor Walk was moved indoors to Alumni Gym in Sutcliffe Hall—but the enthusiasm and appreciation of the Class of 2016 could not be dampened.
Lucas Do of Louisville chose to give his talent to his brother, fellow Centre alum Nick Do ’14, because of the influence Nick has had on his life and his choices.
“Nick has been really influential—we’ve gone to all of the same schools and done many of the same things, so in a lot of ways I’ve been shaped by the decisions he’s made,” Do says. “Having followed him has pushed me to excel and try harder for the sake of beating him (which I do) rather than standing in his shadow (which I also sometimes do).”
Do, who will spend the upcoming year working for non-profit Louisville Grows as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, enjoyed seeing who his peers chose to give their talents to, family or otherwise.
“It’s great to see how personal many of the choices are for each senior,” he says. “I think it’s important to recognize that Centre is something pretty special and that no one graduating achieved it entirely on their own, and I know many professors talk about receiving a student’s talent being one of the biggest gestures of appreciation they’ve gotten.”
Isabelle Ballard, of Danville, Ky., chose to give her talent to Sheldon Tapley, H.W. Stodghill, Jr., and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Art, whose classes she enrolled in every semester at Centre.
“The painting class that I took in the fall of 2012 was the highlight of my first year,” Ballard says. “I learned how to be a serious student in that class. I have changed so much while at Centre and I can confidently say that I am a better person because of my interactions with excellent professors like Dr. Tapley.”
Ballard will put her art skills to work after graduation in New York, where she plans to refine her painting portfolio before applying to MFA programs in the fall.
“Honor Walk is a reminder that none of us would be graduating without help from someone and that the personal connection between students and professors and staff members is a huge part of what makes Centre unique,” she says.
Rob Caudill, from Danville, Ky., chose to give his talent to his younger brother, Bruce.
“Bruce is a huge inspiration to me,” Caudill says. “Also, I knew he would really appreciate it. He was super pumped that I chose him, which made it that much better.”
Like his peers, Caudill enjoyed having a moment to express gratitude before graduation.
“I think it’s great that we get a chance to honor someone really important to us. Obviously, there are so many people that have been huge for us during our college years and they certainly deserve some recognition,” Caudill says. “It’s an exciting time for all of us.”
Caudill, who will play in a collegiate baseball league in Kansas following graduation, also appreciates the sense of community that factors into Honor Walk.
“It’s awesome just to be doing something with all the other seniors,” he says. “Graduating from Centre is such a big accomplishment, and for all of us to go through the Honor Walk together is really cool.”
by Elizabeth Trollinger
May 25, 2016