One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is having the opportunity to learn more about our incredible students—the personal stories that make up their lives, what they hoped for before they arrived here and hope for in the future, what their families have sacrificed in order for them to attend Middlebury. By the time our seniors graduate, they have become so much more to me than names on a list or faces passing by on campus. They are friends and colleagues—people for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration.
When they come up on stage during Commencement, knowing that the entire Middlebury community and their loved ones are watching as they move into the next phase of their lives, an almost magical thing happens: A collective wish of wellbeing emanates from the hundreds of people in attendance. It is palpable—and powerful. If thoughts have energy, then every single student leaves Middlebury with a gale wind at her back. Every student is practically willed into a positive place as he begins his future.
When these new graduates connect with other Middlebury people in the workforce and elsewhere, they will become part of an organic, worldwide network, formed in common experience. This can serve as a strong antidote against the disconnection and isolation that can sometimes occur in today’s world. This common bond and the force of the hopes and dreams of the Middlebury family can help sustain and enrich all of its members for a lifetime.
It is my hope that every student walking across that stage on May 26, 2013, will feel this abiding love and support, and tap into it whenever needed.