University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - May Commencement

Katharine Hawes, Class of 2013, President of the Student Alumni Association

Katharine Hawes

Good morning, it is so strange to think that we are done. Four years really flew by! I was thinking about what I would want to say once I got up here in front of you all and my first inclination was to try to sum up our past four years here. Then I thought that I could think of some great piece of advice that I’ve learned to share with you all. But I can’t give you advice… I’m in the same boat as you. I’m sure there are some of our fellow graduates that have the rest of their lives planned out and know exactly what they will be doing five years from now. I am not that person. The future is uncertain so instead, I will stick with something I do know.

I have loved it here.

I won't say that I loved 8:30 classes or my required Bio lab. But I love the people I’ve met and the opportunities afforded me by being a student here.

Like many of you, I have met some of the most wonderful people while I’ve been here. I have friends that I know I will stay close with until we come back to our 50th reunions. The friendships I’ve formed here will last, because it was here that we discovered who we are as individuals and how we fit into the world.

The other day I was down at Oakledge with my friends for a barbeque. I had my friend’s camera and we were playing volleyball and tossing a Frisbee and there may have been a hula-hoop that no one really knows how to use. As I was snapping some, probably pretty terrible, pictures of my friends, something occurred to me: the most valuable things I learned here were not academic. What shaped me the most were the people I had chosen to surround myself with and the experiences I had as a part of the UVM community. All those “family brunches” on Saturday mornings in the dining halls, the freezing walks up the hill on weekend nights in February, and dodging people on my razor scooter during the naked bike ride; I mean we are all basically family after that. We are a part of a UVM family that doesn’t end after our short time here has.

I was at a scholarship dinner last month where the president of the Foundation gave a few remarks. During which he said, “it’s not post-UVM, it’s always a part of UVM”.

Through my participation on The Student Alumni Association I have had the opportunity to meet many alumni and I’ve realized through these interactions how everlasting the UVM experience is. It doesn’t just end once we cross the stage and get our diplomas. We are part of the UVM community for the rest of our lives.

It's comforting to know that as we go off into the world, many of us not knowing what we will be doing, we are still a part of something larger the connects hundreds of thousands of past and present UVMers.

So as we move on to the next chapters in our lives I hope that you remember your time here fondly and keep the rest of your UVM family in your hearts.

Thank you.

Last modified June 04 2013 11:35 AM

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