University of Vermont

The Honors College

Honors College Scholars - Commencement

2010 HC Scholars

The lead for every UVM Commencement story this spring will be the weather. For the first time in at least six years, our resident meteorologist did not leave us in suspense: the sun shone on UVM seniors throughout their Senior Week, and Sunday, May 23rd dawned without a cloud in the clear Vermont sky.

Saturday afternoon, 110 Honors College graduates, our third full graduating class, were feted, with their families, at a reception hosted by the Honors College in the Davis Center. Dean Rizvi, Interim Provost Knodell, and President Fogel spoke words of admiration and congratulations to the Honors College grads, all of them mentioning, in particular, the impressive academic achievements that are recorded in, among other places, the students' Honors theses.

Apparently the fete-ing continued into Saturday night judging from some of the bleary eyes on Sunday morning, when the graduates arrived at 7:30 to line up for the procession onto the University Green. But at 8:30, when the procession began, everyone looked expectant and, if not exactly well-rested, then at least properly awed by what was waiting for them as they proceeded out to the Green. Emerging from between the two long columns of regalia-clad faculty who were the first to bid them well, the graduates encountered a sea of more than 10,000 people, all of whom were standing and applauding as they proceeded onto the Green.

It is worth remembering that "commencement" means "a beginning." This year's Commencement speaker, the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, reminded the students of exactly that: "With your new degree," he said, "there are many things you will be able to do for yourselves. There are also many things you will able to do for others. Find purpose to your lives beyond simply making a living. Find something that gets you up in the morning and makes it difficult to turn in each night. If it's serving others - full-time or part-time, public service or volunteering - I guarantee, you won't regret it, and this country and the world will be a much better place."

Many of our 2010 Honors College graduates have found that purpose already. German and Russian major Elizabeth Petow, for instance, worked with orphans in Moscow during a semester abroad; Madeline Murphy-Hall spent nine months in Jordan on a Boren Scholarship studying Arabic and also the lives, and plight, of women in the Arab world on her way to a career of service to women whose freedom is restricted by oppressive regimes. And the Dean's column in this newsletter celebrates the achievements of two of our most accomplished graduates: Dana Gulley and Tyler Aten.

As we listened to Honors College graduate Megan Benay sing (beautifully!) the UVM school song at the conclusion of Sunday's ceremony, we realized how hard it is to say goodbye to our students; so instead, we say, with great expectations, "happy beginning!"

Last modified June 03 2010 03:19 PM