Soon-to-be graduates enjoy cheers from the crowd during the Commencement processional.
Senior speaker Elliott Okantey ’09
About 4,000 family and friends, faculty and staff gathered on the front lawn of Memorial Building on a hot Sunday in May to congratulate 350 graduating seniors. Ryan Crocker ’71, longtime Foreign Service officer and ambassador, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, urged graduates “to seek causes larger and greater than yourselves.” Senior speaker Elliott Okantey ’09 told his “accomplished, motivated” classmates that knowing them, he’s not worried about the future. “Out of tough times we will find good, as long as we use our smarts for good and show respect for the world and its people.”
Ulysses “U.J.” Sofia, William K. and Diana R. Deshler chair of astronomy, compared his preparation to end his more than 20-year career at Whitman to take a new position at American University to seniors entering a new phase of their lives. “We should recognize that change is good,” he told them at Baccalaureate, “and feel secure that we are well prepared to navigate the unknown ahead.” Also speaking at the traditional ceremony were Adam Kirtley, Stuart coordinator of religious and spiritual life; Varga Fox, director of financial aid services (who is retiring after 29 years at Whitman); and Aisha Fukushima ’09 and Justin Hayashi ’09. Pianists Katie Moyer ’09 and Justin Greenberg ’09 performed.