by Nancy Serrurier

Good Morning.

On  behalf of the Governing Boards, faculty, administration and staff, I am delighted to welcome you to the Whitman College’s 127th Commencement.

As President Bridges mentioned, I serve as the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. We are a group of 18 alumni, parents and friends of the College who, along with a 45-member Board of Overseers, are responsible for ensuring the quality and health of the College, now and into the future.

Today’s joyful event honors our seniors - soon to be graduates - for successfully completing the requirements for a Whitman College Bachelors of Arts degree.

We also celebrate Whitman’s lifetime impact with members of the Class of 1963, here to commemorate their 50th Reunion.

To the Class of 1963, high tech meant the first AT&T touch-tone phone, zip codes to the end of postal addresses, and the Beatles first album debut.

For the Class of 2013, cell phones replace touch tone phones, texting trumps postal mail and the entire Beatles collection, along with every other artist, is available on Spotify for free.

It’s easy to marvel at what has changed. But today I want to reflect on the rich tradition that binds today’s graduates with those of 50 years ago: the enduring value of a Whitman liberal arts education.

For both generations have learned:

  • how to read deeply, listen carefully and communicate clearly, to understand and appreciate complexity.
  • how to think critically and creatively, and to be nimble and resourceful in the face of uncertainty.
  • how to put words into action, to engage the world and challenge the status quo, in Walla Walla and around the globe.

These are the skills for a lifetime, the building blocks of a productive, ethical and satisfying life.

These are the fruits of a liberal arts education.

Class of 2013, you will soon become part of the greater Whitman family, an affiliation we hope brings joy throughout your lives.

Now, please join me in welcoming the Class of 1963, whom I ask to rise and be recognized.

Welcome to all, and congratulations graduates.