At Evergreen, small is really, really big

Commencement is among the most energizing and happiest moments in an academic year. We celebrate our students’ years of challenging work and significant accomplishments.

This year was especially wonderful. Greeted by faculty as they marched to their seats, the view of students from the stage was inspiring. There were smiling faces, laughter, and an abundant desire to enjoy every moment of the ceremony. For many, commencement represented the culmination of their formal academic training. For all, it represented the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

At Evergreen, the ceremony brought together graduates of all ages, backgrounds, and lived experiences. Many were the first in their families to attend college, some were older adults, others were veterans.  I was overjoyed to congratulate student-parents, accompanied by their children, crossing the stage to receive their degrees.

Trustee Fred Goldberg welcomed the gathering, encouraging graduates as they cross the sea of life to “be aware of the big [wave] you see coming, but more importantly, watch out for the one that you can't see.” Our keynote speakers challenged our graduates to continue learning and pursue a more just and equitable world.

The two student speakers offered inspiring accounts of how they came to Evergreen, the significant personal obstacles they overcame and how important relationships and financial support were in their successes. Their stories reinforced my firm belief in the value of our mission and how important supportive relationships with faculty and staff are in each student’s accomplishments. 

As a small college, we serve every individual, knowing their name, understanding their assets, and helping them achieve their highest aspirations. As a college, we learn and develop with them, adapting to their interests, needs and talents. And as graduates, their contributions to their communities, professions, and the world are huge.

As teachers, public officials, social entrepreneurs, scientists, and leaders in business, Greeners create the world as it is now and as it will be in the future.

At Evergreen, small is really, really big.