A beloved anthropology and international affairs professor urged the second crop of graduates in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences to strive toward its goals Saturday afternoon at the school’s second graduation ceremony.
Associate professor Stephen Lubkemann addressed the hundreds of graduates and their families, rousing laughter from the crowd with anecdotes about his family.
Lubkemann compared college graduation to his daughter’s recent pre-kindergarten graduation, where the 5-year-olds were asked, “How will you improve the world?”
While the 5-year-olds hoped to one day “make it rain only on Wednesdays” and “pass out kittens,” Lubkemann urged the graduates to achieve equally grand goals in their own futures.
“Pursue dreams that remain as ambitious as those preschoolers,” he said. “Utilize your talents and energy to transform and care for your world; to increase your knowledge and understanding and to reach out to help others who need it.”
Jennifer Day, who received her bachelor’s in chemistry, and Amanda Dawson, who received her master’s in interior design, addressed the group as CCAS Distinguished Undergraduate and Graduate scholars, respectively.
Dawson assured graduates that their GW education will provided a wealth of opportunities, despite today’s “uncertain” economy.
“We can feel confident that GW has pointed us in the right direction, but the most important thing to understand is that there is no one correct path, and chances are things won’t go exactly the way you’ve planned,” she said. “The key is to follow your passion and be true to you heart.”
Columbian College Dean Peg Barratt concluded the ceremony by encouraging graduates to stay connected to their academic roots at GW.
“Remember to draw upon your experiences and relationships with GW to help you through the challenges, and please keep in touch,” she said. “The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences will always be ready to welcome you back.”
Barratt said the same thing to students in the first Columbian College ceremony.
While the ceremony did not feature an outside speaker, students said they enjoyed the program.
Graduate Kelly Hartland said she thought Lubkemann did a good job of engaging the academically diverse group.
“From a creative and open standpoint I thought it was applicable to a lot of different majors,” she said. “I know personally that was the most inspiring of the ones I heard today.”