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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Mid-Semester grads transition into uncertain future

Twenty-four seniors walked in the mid-year commencement ceremony last tuesday, which officially concludes their undergraduate education. These seniors, surrounded by family and friends, received the sheets of paper which represents four years of all-nighters, friendships made, hundreds of hours of intellectual maturation and the official recognition by Grinnell College that these seniors can rightly and forever display the ‘Grinnell Alum’ window sticker in their cars. There to congratulate them and offer advice were President Raynard Kington, M.D, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Paula Smith and Assistant Professor Kelly Maynard, History.

President Raynard Kington joins Mona Ghadiri '11 nd Katie Suchor '11 Photograph by Avery Rowlison.

“You cannot step twice into the same river,” said Paula Smith, quoting the philosopher Heraclitus. “I think Grinnell College has a core value and identity as an institution, but it is also an ever-changing place. I believe that the Grinnell that you stepped into is very different from the Grinnell that you step out of.”

Smith mentioned the updates of the new buildings, the diversification of academics and the replacement of faculty members.

“There was President Russell Osgood when you stepped in, and President Raynard Kington when you step out,” Smith said.

Smith also pointed out that the strategic plan is at its halfway point, and the College is finding the new direction.

“You want to stay connected and see where Grinnell is going to flow from here. The Grinnell that you attended now is becoming one of the chapters. We are going to be watching you as well, and stay connected with you. Grinnell College is going to take pride in everything you accomplish now, as an alum,” Smith said.

Kelly Maynard, as the commencement speaker, compared the tumultuous times in which the students of the French Revolution and the graduating Grinnellians find themselves.
“You are also special people, in a sense that you are graduating at this moment of tremendous flux,” Maynard said during the ceremony. “As a global community, we face on the economic instability, environmental crisis, dire food shortages, outrageous wealth disparity and inequalities based on gender, race, identity and sexuality. But you know much as well as I do that Grinnell trains students to be responsible citizens in the world.”
President Raynard Kington made a short speech about his views on a liberal arts education and his confidence in the graduating students.

“Our foundational strategy is to provide superb liberal arts education, and prepare students to make a difference in the real world,” he said.

Then he quoted an alum’s comment on strategic planning: “the opportunity to think deeply about important things and to debate with friends and teachers who have thought just as deeply, and reached differing conclusions, embodies the beauty, the importance, and the uniqueness of a liberal arts education.”

The students, on the other hand, are going to face the opportunities and challenges of the real world. Laura Garcia ’11.5, a philosophy major who is graduating this semester, is thinking of both jobs and graduate school.

“I’m applying to graduate schools next year, so I’m looking for jobs in between this period, and hopefully I’ll get one,” she said.

Lily Cross ’11.5, who is also graduating in the fall semester, is looking for a job.
“I do want to go back to school to get my master’s in GWSS or sociology, but I just don’t feel like doing it right now,” Cross said.

Although ready to face the tough challenges of “real world,” Cross also expressed her love and gratefulness for Grinnell College.

“There’s so much respect among students in Grinnell, and we are given a lot of responsibility,” she said. “Other institutions that I’ve gone to are kind of like a continuation of high school, but in Grinnell, we are really learning critical thinking skills. This is a wonderful place.”

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