Under the sunniest of skies, Elmhurst College held its 147th Commencement exercises for undergraduate students on Saturday, May 26.
That morning on the Mall, 812 seniors graduated from the College. Earlier in the week during a separate ceremony, 282 graduate students received their master’s degrees.
“Your graduation marks the end of one significant phase in your life’s journey,” President Troy D. VanAken said during the undergraduate ceremony. “But commencement actually means ‘beginning,’ so today is even more about what you are about to start—a career, graduate school, a completely different adventure.”
An honorary doctoral degree was awarded to global finance leader and Elmhurst College Trustee Emeritus Thomas A. Kloet. After accepting his Doctor of Humane Letters, Kloet spoke to the graduates about the unpredictability, and great promise, of the future paths they are about to take.
In his address, titled “Your Ticket to Opportunity,” he urged the students to take the skills they acquired at Elmhurst, and apply them to their passions.
“The most important skills you will leave here with today are not about the technical aspects of your major, but what you’ve learned about how to study effectively, how to cooperate, how to listen carefully, how to think critically and how to resolve conflict with reason,” he said. “That is what a great college like Elmhurst has offered you, and you are better prepared for the global marketplace because of it.”
Each of you has a chance to discover who you are, rather than who you should be, and a chance to live your dream.Thomas Kloet addressing the graduates
Kloet continued: “You will take a job and I hope it challenges you and ignites your passion. It may take a few tries, but keep looking, it is out there,” he said. “I have confidence in you and believe in you. After all, you came to Elmhurst College not just to learn about the past, but to create the future. Congratulations and God speed, Class of 2018!”
Undergraduate Commencement Memories
For the College’s graduate students, this year marked the first time their ceremony was held on a separate day, May 24, on the Mall. Master’s degrees were awarded in the fields of business, education, health care and technology.
In addition, an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree was awarded to Sharon Daloz Parks, a scholar, teacher and ethicist, and principal of Leadership for the New Commons.
“The primary reason your master’s degree matters is that it signifies that you have become masters of inquiry,” Parks said during her Commencement address, “Moving from Cog to Colleague in the Great Work.”
You have learned how to learn—the most vital form of competence in this time of big and haunting questions.Sharon Daloz Parks addressing the graduate students
“Elmhurst College has prepared you for more than a job—as important as that is. Elmhurst has a distinctive heritage and identity, inspiring leadership and colleagueship that can wrestle with great and timely questions,” Parks said.
President VanAken thanked the graduate students for deciding to pursue their master’s degrees at Elmhurst College.
“There’s no understating what a huge commitment it was to complete your graduate studies,” he said. “Countless late nights, study sessions, group projects and, I’m guessing, more than just a few large coffees have brought you here today.
“You successfully managed your academic workload with other responsibilities, like careers and families. Congratulations to you all!”
Graduate Commencement Memories