Out of the doors of the bookstore, graduating seniors
and faculty members bring caps and gowns and hoods
The academic dean practices pronouncing the
names that will appear in the stack of diplomas
Physical plant prepares the grounds for visitors
The processional is rehearsed and graduates
practice shaking the hand of the president with their right hand while accepting
their diploma with their left
The art gallery director hangs a show of senior
Mustering impressions of professors, vocalizing
and fine-tuning sketches, students plan their grad-weekend show a diversion
in a transitional season during which they hear the inevitable, What are
you going to do after graduation?
If these scenarios could apply to any graduation
year, or at any other college or university for that matter, how is each Goshen
commencement special? The students, of course, and the campus itself, with a
new context for each class; maybe U.S. political or military conditions or societal
issues brought tumultuous dimensions to community life, particular students
emerged as leaders, a president was inaugurated or new buildings became part
of the campus experience. Each year brings challenge, questions, wisdom, delight:
- Institute Hall cannot accommodate the crowd at the
1901 commencement exercises more evidence that the Elkhart Institute
must find a new home.
- In 1902, institute president Noah Byers begins
his commencement comments with, When I think of education I get into
my mind these two words, culture and service, and ends with Let
our motto be Culture for Service.
- Ten years later, graduates sing a new alma mater.
- Cant remember who gave the main address at your
graduation? Speakers have historically hailed from academia. 1945
Henry Morehouse Gage, Lindenwood College president (board member of the North
Central Association when Goshen was first accredited). 1949
O.P Kretzmann, Valparaiso University president. 1956 Wilhelm
Pauck, professor of church history at Union Theological Seminary. 1967
Lloyd J. Averill, vice president of Kalamazoo College. 1983
Sister Jeanne Knoerle, president of Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College.
1993 Hildi Froese Tiessen, Conrad Grebel College English professor.
2001 John Paul Lederach, founding director of Eastern Mennonite
Universitys Conflict Transformation Program. However, weve also
heard from poets, politicians, activists, astronomers, ministers and more.
- At the request of students, caps and gowns became
a commencement tradition in 1945; faculty officially donned robes,
again at the behest of students, in 1967. In 1972, students
and faculty debated whether the traditional graduation garb should be worn
at all some felt it symbolized authority and conformity and
the practice was deregulated.
- Professor of Music James A. Miller led the A Cappella
and Collegiate choruses and orchestra in performing Mozarts Requiem
during graduation weekend.
- Cant remember what the speaker talked about?
Many topics are timeless. 1942 John McNichol, Toronto Bible
College principal and author: Abiding Things in a Changing World.
1950 D. Elton Trueblood, Earlham College professor of philosophy:
America As It Might Be. 1973 Robert S. Kreider,
former president of Bluffton College: Things Hidden from the Wise.
1988 Madeleine LEngle, author: Being Human in an
- Among many memorable senior class gifts are the College
Cabin (1940) and WGCS, the campus FM radio station (1956).
No matter the era, the spirit of commencement season is exciting if bittersweet
leaving the campus community, looking forward to jobs or graduate school
or service, separating from friends, celebrating with family and loved ones.
We hope the Class of 2001 stays in touch,
as you do so, we can share your experiences since leaving Goshen in the Alumni
News section of the Bulletin. I would also like to invite you to share
something more; if you have a particular experience, hobby, transition, job
or societal, theological or other issue you would like to share with Goshen
College alumni and friends, please be in touch with me about writing an Alumni
Narrative. Write to me at email@example.com or Rachel Lapp, Bulletin
editor, Goshen College, 1700 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526; call (574) 535-7571.
Return to June Bulletin
darling, dont drop! by President Shirley H. Showalter
profiles: Ryan Kolb, Andrea Troyer, Joel Jimenez, Lora Nafziger, Greg Stahly,
Melody Bennett, Deana Landis, Alicia Montoya and Rachel Glick
Kasdorf changed my life by Daniel Shank Cruz
choice by Joni S. Sancken 98
A lifetime in family business:
What Ive learned by Leonard Geiser 57 with Rachel Lapp
Allon H. Lefever by Ryan Miller
Return to Goshen College home page