Delivered by Kirby Fitzpatrick ’18, Student Government Association president
May 20, 2018
It is challenging to believe that May 20, 2018 has arrived so quickly. At the same time, it is hard to believe that our time is up. I waited excited for college since I was incredibly young and I never thought that move in day at Centre would come as I drudged through my senior of high school. My senior year at Centre has been quite the opposite. I have seemingly teared up at every last meeting, every meal with my close friends, and even at the end of my last mathematics final which I was sure I would have trouble missing.
Our Centre experiences have been incredibly rich. We have taken risks and traveled the world. We have studied, and studied, and studied, and made close friends in Grace Doherty. Through the flame runs and the Cowan sits, we made close friends we will have for the rest of our lives. Though the memories are hard to capture in photographs and messages, it is important we try and hold onto these memories for as long as we can.
We have had an abundance of wonderful experiences at Centre. However, many of our Centre experiences have also included challenge, defeat, and discrimination. But our students, who are beyond ready to lead lives of learning, leadership, and service, stood up to what was wrong and sat down to show solidarity. We have had to learn how to support one another. We have learned that the Centre bubble is not always perfect, but it can and must grow and improve over time.
While we may not realized that social justice and courageous leaderships were lessons we would take away from our Centre experience, these lessons were ingrained in our experiences from the beginning. During opening convocation my first-year fall, the Centre student body had the opportunity to hear from two professors the night before classes begin. One of whom, Dr. Amos Tubb, who I would later grow to know, shared a few words that I think deeply reflect the Centre experience for the Class of 2018. He said, “By exploring many subjects, you’ll have a chance to learn about the injustices and problems in your world, and what you are able to do about them. It is only by educating yourself about the world you don’t know about that you are most likely to find out what your role should be in it.”
We must continue to learn. As recipients of a liberal arts education, we have spent the past four years with open minds, ready to learn from others and ready to learn about ourselves. We cannot let our excitement for learning end today. There is much to be accomplished in this world, and only by challenging our biases and opening up to new ideas can we achieve these accomplishments.
To my family, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to attend Centre. Thank you will never be enough for giving me this opportunity.
To the faculty and staff, thank you for your listening ears, your dedication to the college, and your dedication to the students. I know I couldn’t have made it through Centre without your support, and I know that my fellow students feel the same.
To my classmates, thank you for challenging me, accepting me, and for leading the necessary change in the world. I am forever grateful for knowing you and I know our community will stretch beyond Danville, Kentucky.
I will be forever proud to have spent my undergraduate years at Centre College. We are lucky to be able to call this place home, and I am already yearning for my return.