Congratulations Class of 2013!
June 9, 2013
Jubilant students and families celebrated Exeter's 232nd Commencement today under clear skies. Joy energized the crowd as the class of 2013 processed, received prizes and diplomas, and celebrated with families, friends, and Academy faculty and staff.
Alex Yang, president of the senior class, welcomed family and friends "from all quarters of the world." He encouraged the crowd to take a moment to celebrate the milestone of graduation, and to reflect on two Greek notions of time: chronos, or quantitative time, and kairos, which Yang described as qualitative time, the time that creates lasting memories. "Making us laugh, making us smile, or lending a hand when we needed it most," these are "the kairos moments we live for at Exeter."
Yang thanked Exeter's faculty who "pour their love for teaching on to the table very day." He remembered Rick Parris, beloved math instructor, who died during the class of 2013's senior year. "We will thank our teachers forever," he added. "As we move away from this home, moments of kairos will appear at the right moment," Yang said. "May your best times be in the promising time of tomorrow."
Principal Thomas E. Hassan discussed journeys in his brief speech to graduating seniors – physical, metaphoric and spiritual journeys. Citing alumni from much earlier times – some well-known like Daniel Webster, class of 1796, and others unknown today – Hassan talked about the "journey of adjustment" that learning at Exeter has always represented, and the need for Exeter to carry on its own journey into the future.
"A venerable institution such as this must evolve or it will stagnate," Hassan said. "As Exeter examines its place in an ever-changing world, it must nevertheless remain true to the vision and mission expressed by our founder John Phillips in the school's 1781 Deed of Gift: to educate individuals of the 'noblest character' and provide them with the 'surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.' But the Academy also needs to carry these values into new territories."
"You are a highly connected, firmly rooted and deeply compassionate class," Hassan observed as he introduced examples of these qualities shown during the final weeks of the term. "Exeter has been a starting point for many journeys, and it will always be a place that welcomes the class of 2013 to return."
Principal Hassan was assisted on the podium by Trustee John "Tony" Downer '75; P'06, P'06, P'07; Dean of Faculty and Instructor in History Ron Kim; and graduating seniors Max Freedman and Darby Henry.
Alero Egbe, a senior and proctor of Phillips Church, led the Invocation.
Hassan acknowledged the contributions of the retiring faculty: Bill Dennehy (in absentia), Physical Education Department; Barbara Eggers, History Department; Sharon Finley, Science Department; Lark Hammond, Thomas S. and Elinor B. Lamont Professor and instructor in English; and Andrew Hertig '57, 1959 Independence Foundation Professor and instructor in History.
Senior Carlin Zia presented the class gift to the Academy – a contribution of $5,507, representing 100 percent participation from the class. This will be matched, as it is traditionally, by the 50th reunion class, resulting in a total contribution of $11,014. The majority of the contribution will fund an outdoor Harkness space to be constructed this summer, which will be located in the Ford Quad near Phillips Hall. The space will include 13 granite blocks, to be used as chairs, surrounding a granite oval representing a Harkness table. The remainder of the contribution will fund a memorial brick in honor of Rick Parris.
The String Quartet – Chelsea Kim '13, violin; William Yu '13, violin; Mikayla Reine '13, viola; and Ja-Hon Wang '13, 'cello – played as students processed to their seats.
Class Marshals – Wesley Abram, Selah Hampton, Kelvin Lee and Erin NaPier – escorted fellow members of the class of 2013 to their seats.
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— Nicole Pellaton