During the first week of the new academic year, the senior class traditionally gathers to kick off their final two semesters at Centre College at the annual Senior Celebration. This year, the Class of 2017 celebrated the start of their senior year on Aug. 30 with words of wisdom and praise from President John A. Roush (above).
“Tonight’s ceremony is an opportunity to thank you all for what you have given to your college,” President Roush said to the students. “We stand at the beginning of your final year as Centre students, and it is not too early to start celebrating all that you have accomplished during your tenure here. Whether overseas, in the classroom, on the field or on the stage, we say, ‘Well done.’”
Having the Senior Celebration allows the senior class to begin planning for the year ahead.
“We let them know details about Commencement early, and our Center for Career & Professional Development makes them aware of all the career-oriented presentations and events that will take place so they’ll be ready for their job search or graduate school applications,” said Mona Wyatt, Associate Director of Development for Donor Relations and Parent Programs. “We really encourage them to make the most of every minute of their senior year.”
The Senior Celebration also acts as the opening ceremony for Honor Walk, an annual tradition now in its fourteenth year. President Roush presented each senior with a “talent”—a coin with Old Centre on one side and the College seal on the other—that they will present to someone important in their lives on Commencement weekend.
“This is an opportunity to share your gratitude with your chosen person—a moment to pass on your talent as a gift of deep-felt thanks to your honoree,” President Roush told the Class of 2017 before handing them their talents. “For those of you who have seen this ceremony in past years, you will understand what a special and emotional moment this can be for you and the person you honor.”
The Class of 2017 also received advice from two young alumni: Sydney Lutz DeLong ’14, who is now producer of LEX 18 News at Sunrise, and Jordan Shewmaker ’14, currently in his second year of law school at the University of Kentucky.
For Madison Stuart ’17, the best part of the Senior Celebration was spending time with her peers and reminiscing on their collegiate journeys.
“It was strange but also interesting looking at the people around me, who hadn’t all been in one place since orientation, and thinking about how we had all changed and grown,” she said.
When Stuart thinks back on her time at Centre, certain experiences stand out as highlights.
“My favorite part about being a Centre student has been studying abroad,” she said, referencing her time in Strasbourg, France, and Ghana. “But also, I have found tons of unexpected joy in simply being a part of the community at Centre and having the chance to get to know so many truly awesome people.”
Roush highlighted the importance of that community in his remarks that evening.
“Of course, a large part of what makes Centre so special is standing right next to you—your classmates and your lifelong friends.”
The Senior Celebration ultimately offers the senior class perspective on their final year at Centre. For Stuart, the reminder that time is moving quickly brings about mixed feelings.
“I go back and forth,” Stuart said. “Some days, I feel so ready to start something new. But some days, especially now at the beginning of the year, it still feels surreal, and I keep wishing things would slow down a little bit.”
President Roush ended this year’s Senior Celebration with a simple admonishment to the Class of 2017.
“Enjoy your final year as students,” he said. “We look forward to your bright futures as proud alumni.”
by Elizabeth Trollinger
September 7, 2016