Remarks of Class President

Carissa Nemmers '09

Listen (mp3 file)

First of all I would like to thank President Wilson, faculty, staff, family, friends, and distinguished guests for being here today, it is my honor to stand before you and the Class of 2009 of Illinois Wesleyan. In a moment you shall receive your college diploma but before you do, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the past four years. The cycle started in awe and ended in amazement.

Our freshman year was a whirlwind of adjustments from difficult classes, meeting new people, making new friends, and experiencing our first extended stay away from home. We found out first hand through the phone calls and e-mails from our parents, what the symptoms of acute ENS or Empty Nest Syndrome were. We've learned what it is to be satisfied with the work we have put forth, thinking as we handed in that quiz; we had it in the bag. And yet we learned what flexibility is when we picked up that quiz a week later and after reading the grade on top realized that maybe this wasn’t the right major for me.

In the fall of 2006 we returned to campus as sophomores. This was a defining year for us.  Some of us changed our majors, our advisors, our housing and even ourselves. We no longer were the young green students of freshman year, we were collegiate and confident. We wrote papers, gave presentations, and participated in extracurricular activities. We were more focused our sophomore year, and we needed to be as we started taking those 300-level classes. At first, we tried to make it through each of our required general education classes gaining as much knowledge as possible while doing the least amount of work. But around the time when we made our final decision on a major, we found the classes and the professors we loved, and suddenly we couldn’t learn enough, and our studies became a lot more enjoyable. Then, suddenly it was spring and we left the IWU campus for another summer.

When we came back in the fall of our junior year, we were missing some classmates, they were studying in Europe, Asia, Australia, and even in Chicago, and as they returned to campus for the spring others were leaving for their chance to study abroad. We experienced one of the only times campus has ever closed for snow. Walgreens moved down the street and Kroger now closes at midnight. Sodexho (Saga) was remodeled and we went days without using trays. We watched the construction of the Welcome Center and kept wondering when all the noise would stop. We were given the opportunity to leave our mark on the building by signing a beam used in the structure. All were small steps leading up to the last and final year on campus.

Senior year has been both the most difficult and the most exciting. We will always remember last semester’s Election Day when the first black President was elected. We saw various recording artists come to our campus to perform such as Jack’s Mannequin and Dashboard Confessional. Many of our athletic teams won their conference and also play in NCAA tournaments. The theater displayed many great talents. We've learned that professors and coaches are not just the people in the front of the class and on the field, but they have become our mentors and friends.

We have discovered that as we go through life, there must be a balance between work and play and we have to make some tough choices. We acquired the virtue of self-control and calmness in the face of despair, when, on the night before our 25-page final paper was due, our computer crashed and we almost, but did not – burn the Ames library to the ground. Perhaps the best memory of this semester was finishing that final paper, putting down our pens after the final exam, or finally turning in the theses we have worked so hard on.

Happy as we are to graduate today and move those tassels, we need to hold on to the memories of Illinois Wesleyan and never forget them. As my mother once told me, life is a book and we have just completed a chapter and tomorrow we start a new one. Congratulations Class of 2009! We Did It!