Smiles, decorated caps, and hugs were all around the North Central College campus today during the Class of 2012 Commencement Ceremony. This year’s graduation was more than the traditional pomp and circumstance. It marked the end of the college’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.
“This class represents the very best of this 151-year-old institution and in turn this college is a far better place for your time here,” said President Hal Wilde.
More than 100 students received advanced degrees and nearly 600 received bachelor degrees. The college held graduation in the Res/Rec, which was one of many buildings to open during the four years this group of students were at the institution.
“We talk a lot in the music department about how our class opened up Wentz Concert Hall so that in itself has been really special,” said Alexandria Kordelewski, B.A. Music Education.
Director of the Peace Corps Aaron Williams gave this year’s commencement address and shared how serving others shaped his life.
“When people come together for a common cause, we together can achieve extraordinary things,” said Williams.
For one student, his speech touched home. Em Rademaker will join the Peace Corps next month.
“The idea of service, and education, and learning is something that I just can’t wait to be doing,” said Em Rademaker, Student Governing Association President.
As students looked towards the next chapter of their lives they were filled with many emotions.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” said Paul Yuccas, B.A. International Business, Marketing.
“I’m excited but I’m going to miss the community and all my boys here.”
“All the great professors who’ve helped me along the way, all the staff like Marlene Starzyk who have helped me in the Career Development Center, and just all the friends I’ve made looking back, that’s the biggest thing,” said Tucker Graczkowski, B.S. Computer Science.
The ceremony wasn’t just the end of the graduates’ time at North Central. It was also President Hal Wilde’s final ceremony. He will retire at the end of the year.
“I just appreciate everything he’s done and he’s such a good guy, it’s great,” said Tiffany Kaluzny, B.A. Exercise Science.
“I don’t know what’s going through his mind but I know that every student here has been so fortunate and we’re all so grateful to have had him for the short time that we did,” said Rademaker.
“Best wishes to all of you and thanks for many, many years of incandescent memories,” said Wilde.
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