Colgate Celebrates 201st Commencement

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Proud families and professors alike cheered on the nearly 700 graduating members in the Class of 2022 at the University’s 201st Commencement exercises, Sunday, May 22.

Representing 16 countries, 43 U.S. states, and 2 U.S. territories, the Class of 2022 leave campus as the newest Colgate alumni. A threat of spring thunderstorms moved the ceremony indoors to Sanford Field House, but the shift did not dampen the class’s spirit as its members took to the stage with broad smiles to receive their diplomas. 

Colgate President Brian W. Casey commended the graduates for their persistence and significant accomplishments throughout their four years on campus, during a time of national upheaval, through all the complexities brought forth by the pandemic, national political division, and cultural debates. 

“To be where you are now, to have persevered through all that you have is a singular mark of achievement, a mark of strength and courage. You were the class that history touched, a class now entering a changed world,” said Casey. “You are ready now, ready for that changed world – even if, at this very moment, this morning, you might not always feel that you are. You are.”

The commencement exercises concluded a weekend of celebratory events and cherished traditions on campus, including the baccalaureate service, the annual senior barbecue, and Senior Torchlight Procession. 

Alongside the Class of 2022, the University conferred honorary degrees upon five outstanding individuals, including: commencement speaker Wesley Morris, New York Times critic, co-host of the podcast Still Processing, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner; Robert Audi ’63, John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame; Linda Gay Griffith, professor of biological and mechanical engineering and the director for the Center for Gynepathology Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jean Morrison ’80, University provost and chief academic officer and professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University; and James Allen Smith ’70, chairman of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Colgate trustee emeritus, and author of the University’s bicentennial history book, Becoming Colgate.

Morris, in his commencement address, spoke to the pleasures, and dangers, of nostalgia. 

“Right now, you all, the Colgate Class of 2022, you’re about to leave a moment that some of you might spend the rest of your lives trying to get back to,” Morris said. “You will long to come back to this period of your life because it was somehow preferable to wherever you currently are. All your friends here in one spot and none of your responsibilities.”

Morris concluded, “beware of nostalgia,” citing the Blues Traveler song, Hook. “It’s one thing for the hook to bring you back. It’s another thing to stay there. Congratulations to the Class of 2022. You did it, thanks for having me, and good luck.”