Middlebury celebrates commencement for the class of 2022

Vermont Small business Journal Underneath cloudless blue skies, graduates, school, employees, household, and close friends collected on Middlebury’s key quad Sunday to rejoice Commencement for the 461 members of the Course of 2022.

The celebration was particularly celebratory for the reason that it was the first time the Middlebury group experienced collected in a person area for the ceremonies in three years.

“You may possibly have found an extra excitement in the air this early morning,” explained President Laurie L. Patton in her welcoming remarks. “It’s the initial time we’ve all been alongside one another considering that 2019, and I’m so delighted we can all be with each other this morning.”

Graduating seniors Om Gokhale and Roni Lezama, who have been chosen to co-present the university student Graduation tackle this yr, presented poignant thoughts on settling into thoughts of uncertainty that occur with graduation.


491 Students from Class of 2020 to Attend Rescheduled Middlebury School Graduation May possibly 31


Gokhale, an unbiased scholar in humane style and design from Redwood Metropolis, California, famous the emotional parallels among the initially and past months of higher education. In excess of the “1,460 times,” he said, he uncovered to embrace quite a few new men and women and experiences.

“Uncertainty is a funny emotion,” Gokhale explained. “It can sit on your shoulder for the duration of magical moments of your life—your first months of faculty, or your last—and attempt to convince you that some thing is not quite full about the present.

“It whispers in your ears sentences that start with ‘What if’ or ‘I wish.’ Perhaps these earlier handful of months, you have listened to it whisper: ‘I’m glad to be graduating higher education, but what if I did not make the most of it?’ Or: ‘I wish I knew what I was accomplishing subsequent,’ or whether I was performing the right point future, or if I am getting the particular person I am meant to be.”

Roni Lezama (suitable) and Om Gokhale delivered the 2022 Middlebury College or university Commencement student address. (Credit score: Brett Simison )

Gokhale observed that doubts are what make us feel alive, and curing them should not be the goal.

“What does it seem like to embrace not knowing?” he requested his classmates. “To admit the cosmic rarity of lifetime sensation settled, even on days like this a single? To sink into the uncertainty of the current, to hear the concerns that you don’t but have answers to, and nevertheless pick to be listed here, now?”

Lezama, an global politics and economics big and training scientific studies slight from Queens, New York, provided a complementary just take on uncertainty, invoking the late writer and activist bell hooks’s essay “Toward a Throughout the world Society of Enjoy,” which he go through for a class at Middlebury. 

Lezama said, “hooks set it greatest: ‘To hold out for a time to come. To say that the ideal edition of our lifestyle, and our most loving, peaceful self, has been ready powering this milestone or the up coming a person. But the truth is, your daily life is not any significantly less complete in moments of uncertainty than it is when we have all the items we want.’ These days is an essential day, and is an appropriate time to follow really like, to express gratitude, to be here, now. But the other days can be too.”

The outgoing president of the Student Govt Affiliation, Lezama, recalled his close friend and fellow SGA leader Miguel Sanchez-Tortoledo ’23, whose dying from most cancers last 12 months shook the campus community. Lezama claimed one particular of his most important regrets of the earlier four many years was not expressing his appreciation for one of the most “endlessly endearing” and empathetic individuals he had fulfilled. He urged his classmates not to wait around to specific their love.

”It is our habit to wait around,” stated Lezama. “For when things are a minor less frantic. For times and celebrations like this one. For some best, poetic time.

“But as hooks explained, ‘For so lots of of us our longing to enjoy and be liked has normally been about a time to come.’

“But I talk to you, Course of 2022, what if each and every day could be that time? What if certainty and perfection were being not stipulations to loving wholly, and living fully?”

Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal, the electronic payment expert services enterprise, shipped the 2022 Graduation deal with and acquired an honorary medical professional of letters diploma. Schulman has advocated for corporations to help form modern society for the far better by sharing their financial successes with their staff. He is extensively acknowledged for his determination to social adjust and his passion for fairness, justice, and human rights.

Commencement speaker Dan Schulman stands at the podium to give his address.

Middlebury alum and PayPal CEO Dan Schulman ’80 sent the Middlebury University Commencement deal with on Sunday, May 29. (Credit: Todd Balfour )

A 1980 graduate of Middlebury, Schulman has worked to democratize and transform financial expert services and e-commerce to improve the economic health and fitness of persons, households, and businesses all over the environment. With more than 426 million persons and companies working with PayPal, Schulman has aided mature and strengthen the organization due to the fact his arrival in 2014.

Schulman advised the graduates that the entire world needs them to provide all the things they’ve realized as liberal arts students around the earlier 4 a long time to their upcoming operate and every day actions, and to confronting and providing methods to the world’s a lot more critical problems.

“More than ever, we have to have to realize what it indicates to type and maintain local community,” explained Schulman. “All of us have a responsibility to just about every other. I can assure you that your values and principles will matter in every single get the job done scenario and natural environment you encounter. They make a difference in the day-to-working day selections you will make in your own and professional lives.”

Schulman urged the graduates to continuously interrogate their very own means of considering through listening—listening to realize rather of listening to respond.

“History teaches us about and in excess of once again that some of our fiercest assumptions will switch out to be totally incorrect,” explained Schulman. “A very good question to ask your self currently is ‘What could I be wrong about?’”

In addition to Dan Schulman, honorary degrees had been presented to:

Joseph Bruchac, Health practitioner of Arts, a citizen of the Nulhegan Band of the Coonuk Abenaki Country and a highly regarded elder, is a greatly posted creator who is deeply fully commited to peace, justice, and racial equity.

Nan Jenks-Jay, Health practitioner of Humane Letters, is a major voice in environmental reports and sustainability systems in just higher education.

Read more about the honorary diploma recipients here.

Each graduate received a duplicate of Gamaliel Painter’s cane, introduced by Janine Hetherington ’95, president of the Middlebury Alumni Affiliation. The cane is a symbol symbolizing the founding of the Higher education, and now is applied as the mace for formal tutorial ceremonial events. Patton noted that the canes have lots of tales linked to them, together with stories of the workers who built them, the trees that offered the wood, and the Indigenous Individuals who cared for the forests. 

“We are only commencing to tell these tales, and we talk to you to keep in mind them as you journey from listed here,” she stated. “These canes are a symbol of the historical ties that bind us all to this institution, the generosity that supports us, and the challenging do the job and discovering that brought you to this place currently as a graduate of Middlebury College.”

Also as element of the ceremony, Mark Orten, dean of religious and spiritual lifetime, gave the College’s land acknowledgment, adopted by an opening prayer and enjoying of the flute by Jesse Bowman Bruchac, son of Joseph Bruchac, of the Nulhegan Band of the Coonuk Abenaki Nation.

A few students have been recognized with Graduation Honors: Andrew Carter Ng, a biology and economics main from Woodinville, Washington, and Mykhailo Poklad, a joint studio art and film and media culture important from Kyiv, Ukraine, were being named co-valedictorians. Mingjiu Gao, a double significant in literary reports and French from Beijing, China, was named salutatorian.

Between the other gatherings of Commencement weekend, graduates collected Saturday at Middlebury Chapel for the traditional Baccalaureate service and the latest users of Phi Beta Kappa had been inducted for the duration of a ceremony at Robison Corridor.