The undergraduate academic careers of more than 170 Fort Lewis College students came to a triumphant end at Winter Commencement 2012. The graduates assembled with their families, friends and professors to celebrate their graduation into the next phase of their lives.
Dr. Jennifer Stollman, associate professor of history at FLC and the 2012 winner of the Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award, spoke to the graduates. She began by citing the tragedy in Newtown, CT, and reminding those assembled that “life is precious, that it can change in an instant, and that we must maximize our time on Earth.”
Dr. Stollman then turned her remarks to the struggle for human rights across the globe. She described the graduating class as a unique generation, one that is less concerned with material wealth than with helping others. She observed that this new generation is one that believes that positive change is possible, and, she said, “We have been waiting for you.”
“You must build on the legacy that your generations have fought for and push towards its logical conclusion,” she told the audience. “For eliminating inequality based on our differences must ultimately lead to the battle to secure human rights for all, regardless of any or all of our differences.”
“Why you? Why now?” she continued. “Because we have arrived at a time when we are witnessing some of the worst human rights abuses known to human kind.”
Despite the travesties and tragedies that happen all over the world, Dr. Stollman felt confident that things can get better because “I know there is much work to be done and I know that you are capable of doing it. I have been waiting for you.”
As she closed, she left the newest graduates of Fort Lewis College with a greeting and a charge. “Welcome to the struggle,” she said. “Link your arms, raise your voices, we are so very glad you’re here.”
See photos from the December 2012 Commencement ceremony here.