Thank you for allowing me to speak today and celebrate you—the Hampshire College Graduating Class of 2011. My name is Shelley Johnson Carey and I came to Hampshire in 1972 as a member of Hampshire’s third class. Like many alums—and perhaps like some of you—my path through Hampshire was far from straight: I actually graduated in 1979. I left Hampshire for a few years, and during my time away I worked for a year and then attended another school. But I returned to Hampshire because—even then—I recognized the unique opportunities that students here have in working with our faculty to craft their own educations.
Now, many years later, I’m an elected alumni trustee and my connection to Hampshire is as strong today as it was when I graduated more than 30 years ago. So, in the spirit of this graduation day, I’d like to share with you some of the many reasons that I’m very proud to be a Hampshire College alum.
First, Hampshire Alums are Authentic: We sing our personal theme songs loudly, without the need or desire to Auto-Tune. After four years of working with amazing faculty to design our own academic programs, we know ourselves well and stay true to our passions, inside and outside of the classroom.
Hampshire Alums are Creative: We seldom color neatly inside the lines. Instead of limiting our artwork to the page, we scribble on the table, spatter paint the floors, and draw on the walls. However, when called for, we can paint by the numbers—that is until we get our hands on a nice blank canvas.
Hampshire Alums are Prepared: After years of eating in Saga, being awakened at four in the morning by primal screams in the Dakin Courtyard, and tunneling to class through four-foot snow walls, we are prepared to handle pretty much whatever comes our way after graduation. And because we’ve conquered Div I, II, and III, Hampshire alums are academically prepared for life’s challenges and opportunities—which are never scripted and come at times when you least expect them.
Hampshire Alums Know How to Connect the Dots: In this interdisciplinary laboratory, we learned that answers and solutions are seldom found only in just one place. True knowledge is obtained and problems are solved when we connect our knowledge, work together, and respectfully meet somewhere in the middle.
Finally, the culminating reason for my pride is simply (as the young people say): Hampshire Alums Kick Ass!: As authentic, creative, prepared citizens who know how to connect the dots, Hampshire alumni go forth from this wonderful school nestled in an apple orchard and forge their ways through the world. Our compasses guide us on journeys that engage us and sometime enrage us. But by staying true to ourselves and our values, we find ourselves—with lessons learned—at destinations that are both fulfilling and rewarding.
And we hope that sometime soon, you—our newest Hampshire alums—will find yourself back on this campus, sharing your wisdom with us and supporting our future efforts. As alums, you’ll always have a place at the Hampshire table and a voice in the conversation. Today we welcome you to a proud Hampshire alumni community whose lives are testimony to the motto: “To know is NOT enough!”
Congratulations, Hampshire College Graduates! Now that you have victoriously rung the Div III bell, keep in touch and let us know about all of your adventures and achievements as you Ring the Bell of Life.
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