May 2, 2010, Commencement
Remarks of Class President
Alessandra Bollero '10
Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for being here today. I have the honor of formally
welcoming President Wilson, the faculty, staff, parents, friends, and mentors who
have gathered to help the graduates sitting before me celebrate their commencement
into postgraduate life. Today is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements, triumphs,
and relationships that have manifested over the past four years as a result of our
decision to attend Illinois Wesleyan University. Although I have to admit the suburbanites
significantly outnumber us out-of-staters, each of us entered with different foundations
that coalesced to become the distinguished class of 2010.
Reminiscing back to move-in day on campus, we all remember feeling exhilaration and
anxiety as we bid our parents adieu and introduced ourselves to our roommates. During
Fall Festival, we sported our bright green Turning Titan T-shirts, and cheered on
prospective friends proudly performing in the talent show. Many of us soon discovered
Bloomington's culinary jewel, Avanti's, and quickly learned that purchasing coffee
mugs and sweatshirts from the bookstore was a legitimate form of Christmas shopping.
Some of us girls enjoyed the buffet-style dining at Saga a little too much, and may
have been considered candidates of the "freshman 15" trend, as so accurately classified
by our Men of Character over at the Sigma Chi table. During our first attempt at class
registration, we may have been spotted sprinting across the quad in our underwear
in an attempt to get admitted to a Gen Ed requirement. We no longer had Mom telling
us to "go to your room and do your homework", and thus time management was of the
essence. Around exam time we may have discovered that 1:30 a.m. was too early for
the library to close. Some of us were challenged to understand the eye-opening realities
of the world in our gateway colloquium courses, and exhausted the discussion-driven
classes facilitated by Wesleyan professors. Most of us had the honor of being rewarded
for our hard work before returning home for the summer, as we fueled our friendships
and boosted our GPAs during the season of Play term.
Some of us returned to campus sophomore year a bit tentative regarding our major selections,
and may have decided to pursue other interests. Former English majors entered the
business program, and history majors became political science converts. Whatever our
fates, we learned that getting to know the professors in our respective departments
on a personal level would be our best resource in capitalizing the cost of our education.
We began receiving emails from the Career Center about building resumes and internship
opportunities in an attempt to help us see past the cap and gown.
What seemed like a blink of an eye brought our upperclassman status. We moved off
campus and learned how to cook, or at least how to stealthily steal our housemates'
food without them noticing. We toasted our first alcoholic beverages ever on our 21st
birthdays. Some of us ventured abroad, where we learned to survive on a nonexistent
budget and converse in foreign languages. Others juggled internships with on-campus
jobs, and competed in intramurals and attended our colleague's senior recitals. Our
nursing friends woke up at 5 a.m. to attend clinicals, whereas others patronized the
idea of scheduling all classes after lunch. We let the band lead our cheering at night
football games, and hoped so badly that the basketball teams would make it past the
elite 8. We have taken pride as Titan athletes and fans in realizing continued success
in the CCIW and NCAA tournaments, as we've watched more and more championship banners
get mounted in the Shirk center.
Throughout our years, though, we have changed individually and collectively. We are
no longer timid freshmen who wait for others to break the ice in classroom discussions.
We have been confronted by challenges and adversity, both within the confines of our
campus and what lies beyond. Some may have undertaken roles as executive board members,
and proposed budget requests from Student Senate. Some were contenders on political
panels, and discussed pros and cons of the health care debate. We raised money for
natural disasters and disease research, and together viewed the inauguration of our
country's first black president. We sat helplessly as the worldwide economy spiraled
out of control, and witnessed in disgust the biggest Ponzi scheme in corporate history.
These topics of modern reality penetrated our psychology papers, medical school application
essays, and our university newspaper. Learning how to formulate personal opinions
about these events and experiences is what makes us prepared for what lies ahead.
This university has encouraged us to shape ourselves, rather than mold us into its
own product. In promoting personal creative expression, this institution has granted
us the responsibility to cultivate and evolve into the polished class that we have
become. As trailblazers in our respective concentrations, we have come together as
a class to leave our perpetual mark on the Wesleyan culture.
However, our role as Titans does not terminate here. Today is a springboard into the
future for ourselves to become serving Titan alumni. Three summers ago I met a man
by the name of Frank Livingston, a graduate from the class of 1951, who through conversation
discovered my membership on the women's golf team. He began cutting out Argus articles about our team and sent them via mail to my parents. He also posted copies
in our clubhouse with my name highlighted so that family friends could follow our
success. I later found out he did this type of thing for a lot of current students
and their families, and although he has recently passed, he lives on in my mind and
heart as the ideal alum: someone so proud of his university that forty years following
graduation, he still proactively sought ways to fulfill his role as a Titan. How will
we actualize our gratification as alums in our future contexts?
Whether we realize it or not, we would not be who we are without Illinois Wesleyan
University written on our diplomas; we are unique because of this credential. We have
all contributed significantly to the dynamic of this illustrious class and student
body. Now it's our time to discover new opportunities in locations near or far, and
although we may feel the same exhilaration and anxiety we did stepping foot onto this
property, we have the confidence and skill set to undertake the challenges and adversity
that lie ahead. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, seniors, and remember
to carry the pride of forever being an IWU Titan.