Student Government Association President Thomas Becker ’15, of Newark, Del., provided the senior class response during the 192nd Centre College Commencement on May 24, 2015, in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts.
This “College” Thing
Contrary to what you might think, I don’t want to be standing here right now. It’s not because I don’t have something to say, because just about everyone up here knows that, when they need an opinion, I’ve got them in abundance.
I don’t want to be standing here, because this is it. This is the last dance, the closing number, the grand finale. This is the end of a chapter in all of our lives that, I have a feeling, most of us aren’t quite ready to end just yet. The memories we have of the past few years are evidence of time spent doing this “college” thing in Danville, Ky. They tell a story that is rapidly coming to a close, and it’s a story that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
Centre has been a place of growth and inspiration, of triumphs and successes. We haven’t always gotten this “college” thing right, though. There were times when we caved to immaturity and bullying. There were times when we simply didn’t try, even though we’ve been blessed with capabilities and talents that others would bend over backwards to have. And, there were times when “work hard, play hard” was shortened to simply “play hard,” and our Saturday morning recoveries were simply not pleasant.
But, you know what’s special about us, the Class of 2015? We show up.
We are a group of individuals that knows how to be there for each other. When we needed help studying, someone showed up to walk us through it. When we got into grad school or got our first job, someone showed up to celebrate with us. When we were struck with the sudden death of someone we loved, someone showed up to comfort us.
Through all of these life-altering experiences—big and small, ones that formed us and challenged us—whether we knew it or not, we were there for each other. We did this “college” thing together. I wouldn’t be who I am today without this college and these people.
We have walked through the fire. We have done what we could, where we were, with what we had. We came, we saw and we conquered. We have boldly gone where none of us had gone before. And, we are, finally, cleared for liftoff.
While I can’t take credit for originality in that last paragraph, I think that these people have a point to make about human beings, about us, the Class of 2015. We are a group that has been molded and influenced by those around us. We have stood on the shoulders of giants. Those giants could be parents, professors or peers. In my case, it’s been all three.
On behalf of all of us up here,waiting to receive the piece of paper that sets us apart in educational attainment from over 90 percent of the rest of the world, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for being a part of this “college” thing. Thank you, family. Thank you, friends. Thank you, faculty and staff. You have made our time at Centre possible. Thank you for trusting us, pushing us and showing up for us. Thank you for your love and patience. Thank you for being our role models.
Here’s my prediction about us, the Class of 2015. We are going to work hard. I have a feeling that we’re still going to play hard, too. We’re going to miss this place and these people, but we’re going to have to learn how to “grow where we’re planted.” We will face struggles and stress, and we will not always have it easy. But, we are going to succeed. We are going to love others. We are going to look back on this “college” thing with pride. And, we are going to change this world. I’d say we did this “college” thing pretty well.
Delivered by Student Government Association President Thomas Becker ’15
May 24, 2015