It had been a while since Keuka College’s entire graduating class was able to collect their diplomas at a single ceremony, but that changed Saturday as the College held its 114th Commencement, a return to the single-ceremony celebrations sidelined over the past few years by pandemic-related public safety precautions.
College President Amy Storey congratulated the graduating class for its commitment and determination in earning their degrees amid the unique challenges of the past four years, and added that their promise fills her with hope for the future.
“I have complete confidence that our graduates have both the ability and the willingness to fix what is broken in our society,” she said. “Keuka College’s mission is to create exemplary citizens and leaders to serve the nation and the world. Today, we send those exemplary citizens and leaders into the world!”
More than 330 undergraduate and graduate students walked the stage in front of the College’s Norton Chapel. They also heard from three Class of ’23 student speakers:
Exchange student Boyan Wang of Xiamen City, Fujian Province, China, spoke of the welcome he received on the Keuka College campus and how he will carry it with him.
“In this land of tolerance and diversity, I felt the warmth of home and witnessed the kindness and friendliness of the American people,” the double Management and Marketing major said. “I am about to bring this beauty back to my home country and share it with my Chinese friends.”
Senior Class President Francesca Daniele spoke of how the College enabled her to understand the importance of loving one’s self to better love others.
“The faculty and staff at Keuka College have played an instrumental role in helping me develop my self-love and confidence,” said the Criminology & Criminal Justice major. “They have provided me with guidance and support, and have challenged me to push beyond my limits and explore new avenues for growth and development. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment to helping students like me achieve their goals and find their footing in the crazy world we live in.”
Alyssa Litvaitis, a student member of the College’s Board of Trustees, reflected on how the Class not only stayed connected throughout the challenges of COVID but grew throughout the experience.
“We all have had our hardships throughout our four years here, but I want to ask everyone to think back to their freshman selves and appreciate how far we all have come,” said the Occupational Science major. “In the words of Richard and Robert Sherman, more commonly known from Disney’s ‘Carousel of Progress,’ ‘There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away!’”
Also taking place during the ceremony, Dr. Barbara S. Allardice ’61 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her loyalty, leadership, and service to the College. Dr. Allardice, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees for some 20 years, is also a former faculty member and longtime supporter of the College. The distinction was presented by College Trustee Donald Wertman.