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Upcoming Commencement Dates

  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Glynnis Kearney, Valedictorian

Glynnis KearneyJune 10, 2012

Welcome to Mr. President, the Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, and family members. Your support has been monumental in our journey to this day. Above all, though, welcome to the soon to be graduates—the Class of 2012! I can hardly believe that in a few short days we will have moved into the next phases of our lives. Congratulations to you all!

I'd like to first share a quote from one of Dartmouth's most famous alumni, Dr. Suess. "If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too." More so than most classes' experiences, our four years here have been marked, in Dr. Suess's words, by "things happening." We were greeted from DOC orientation trips by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and now, as we graduate, we face lingering recession and high unemployment. Our Dartmouth experience has been bookended by two exceptional national acts of inclusion with the election of Barack Obama as our country's first African American president during our freshman year, and his recent support of same-sex marriage. Even in our own community, our experience has been shaped by changes, including alterations to the dining plan, articles about Dartmouth in the press, and the closing of the River docks. In many cases, these events have changed the course of the college experience we expected to have. It can be challenging to change plans and scary to feel uncertain about the future.

However, in my experience at Dartmouth, the events that have changed my path have led to some of the most rewarding experiences during my college career. The first of these events was before I even arrived at Dartmouth, when I somehow got assigned to a rock climbing orientation trip despite my fear of heights. When the day to climb arrived it was raining, making the rocks wet and slippery. I wish I could tell a story of struggle and ultimately epic success, but the truth is throughout the climbing trip I was never able to reach the top of the wall. However, the experience of having to change my expectations about what my trip was going to be like was the first of a long sequence of course corrections that eventually made me a much more balanced and flexible person. The realization that it is okay to break plans and change your mind eventually led me to choose to minor in Studio Art, something I never would have done had my initial idea of what my college experience would be like panned out exactly as I had planned.

Dartmouth has a long history of achievement. This community has given rise to Robert Frost, Pilobolus, and even the fictional character Stephen Colbert, along with countless others. Our class's experience uniquely prepares us to join these ranks because we have been forced to grapple with so many of these unexpected course corrections. I have a lot of faith in the talents and skills of the people I have met over my four years at Dartmouth. As we look excitedly forward, let's not forget where we are right now, and how the divergences from what we expected when we first arrived freshman year led us to where we are today. We have been armed with the flexibility to consider many more options than we can fathom. I have no doubt that our class will, in Dr. Seuss's words, "start happening", if we haven't already. It has been an honor to be a part of an amazing group of students. And now, let's graduate!

Last Updated: 8/17/12