By: Julia Hall – Print Editor-in-Chief
Cars sat in traffic amongst honking horns, stressed mothers, and a few not-so-pleasant hand gestures as they filled into the UD Arena parking lot. The University of Dayton class of 2017 graduated this Sunday. In place of the usual basketball players and referees, the arena was decked out in flowers, black caps and gowns, and well-dressed family members and friends.
Pomp and Circumstance played as the 1,502 graduates processed to their seats. After the initial rustling of programs and antsy children, Provost Paul Benson opened with words, including those encouraging graduates “to build community throughout the human family.”
President Eric Spina also spoke, challenging new grads with a C.S. Lewis quote to take risks–even if it means failure at first. Dr. Spina, further, encouraged the graduates to “dare to be great.”
The student speaker, Devin A. Mallet, mechanical engineering graduate, spoke of his evolution as an engineer with anecdotes regarding his childhood mischief, such acts including the loosening of bolts on his baby walker. He ended his speech with the message to his fellow graduates that they must work to not only make money but to make a positive difference in the world.
In his official garb of red and black, Dr. Spina shook every hand with a nice pat and a large smile. As newly graduated hands held their certificates, they now bore major responsibilities to carry on as humans in the world.
Several graduates gave the camera that projected onto the jumbo screen big thumbs ups, jazz hands, and even the occasional “Hey, Mom!”
Excitement, along with a bit of bittersweet nostalgia, filled the room as a major accomplishment was celebrated by the class of 2017.
As they exited the arena, the class of 2017 carried forth the lessons of the Marianist tradition beyond the UD bubble, acknowledging their privilege and moving forward to do the work of the future with an obligation to upholding the dignity of all.
Photos Courtesy of Elizabeth Ellett and Julia Hall