Connecticut College Magazine · Summer 2012

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Former Dean of the College Jewel Plummer Cobb with Beverly Clark Prince '72 in Cobb's lab at Connecticut College. Photo courtesy of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives.

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Commencement 2012

Commencement 2012

Speakers urge students to make their mark on the world

by Eileen Jenkins


Louis B. Susman P'84, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James's in London, urged the 437 members of the Class of 2012 to leverage their technological savvy to make their mark on the world.

“Through social media and networking sites you are already involved in the world to a degree that my generation was not — a world where issues like the economy, security, climate change and poverty affect us all, wherever we live, whatever our faith, whether we are rich or poor, learned or uneducated, old or young,” Susman told the graduating class. “No longer are we immune or can we isolate ourselves from events elsewhere around the world.”

This interrelated world, he added, means we all share an interest in overcoming global challenges, and the generation that includes the Class of 2012 has the greatest stake in the outcome of those efforts.

“Half a century ago, in his famous inaugural speech, President Kennedy declared that the 'torch has been passed to a new generation,'” said Susman, the father of former trustee Sally Susman '84. “I believe we are now at a similar moment. And nothing inspires my generation more than knowing that young people like you are ready to receive that torch. For as globalization and modern technology make the world increasingly interconnected, you simply cannot be bystanders.”

President Leo I. Higdon, Jr., also indicated his confidence that the class was, indeed, much more than a class of spectators.

“Already you have taken on issues that are important to you and others,” he said. “The Class of 2012 includes students who have fought against human trafficking, engaged in dialogues with world leaders, used art to break down barriers, helped a population confront its troubled past. And that's just a small fraction of the impact you've already had on the world.

“You have proven yourselves through your academics, your citizenship, and the ways in which you have engaged yourselves in the world.”

Brenner Green '12 of Lisbon, Conn., who was elected to speak on behalf of the graduating class, connected his public service to his academic, athletic and extracurricular experiences at the College. In his first semester, Green appeared in a documentary that chronicles the lives of openly gay and lesbian athletes, and in his speech he noted that his cross-country teammates embodied the College's mission.

“If you know Conn's values, you know that the College seeks to 'make all students feel comfortable, respect each other's differences, and seek common ground,'” he said.

“And this proved to be true. My teammates respected me for coming out and made me comfortable being their teammate. I've come to realize that the College's mission and values are a big part of my journey. Conn 'seeks to support and nurture intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creative and physical development of its student body.' And that's just what it did for me.”

Susman received an honorary degree before he spoke. Other honors bestowed during the ceremony included the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize, which was awarded to David Liakos '12, a philosophy major from Wakefield, Mass., for his honors thesis, “Overcoming Transcendence: Charles Taylor and Nihilism.” The prize, named for a president emeritus of the College and his wife, is given to a graduating senior who has completed the year's most outstanding honors study.

The Anna Lord Strauss Medal was awarded to Jazmin Long '12, a government major and scholar in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. The medal is presented to a senior who has done outstanding work in public or community service, including service to the College — and Long has exemplified these attributes. A champion for the rights and dignity of people, the Bridgeport, Conn., native relentlessly pursued knowledge and skills to better understand systems of power and oppression and bring about a more just society.

The Connecticut College Medal — the College's highest honor — was awarded to former trustee and chair of the board Barbara Shattuck Kohn '72, who forged a highly successful career in banking at a time when women had limited opportunities in that field. In addition to her 13 years of service on
the Board of Trustees, including six as chair, Kohn served three years as head of the Campaign for Connecticut College.


2012 BY THE NUMBERS

437
Bachelor of Arts degrees
3 Master of Arts degrees

106 students with double majors

33 states represented
28 international graduates, from 22 countries
229 students studied abroad
291 participated in community learning and service
99% gave to the College through the senior giving program (a new record)

Latin Honors
18
summa cum laude
42 magna cum laude
61 cum laude

Departmental Honors
13
honors study in the major field
31 honors study and distinction in the major field
131 distinction in the major field

Certificates Earned
Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology: 5
Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment: 8
Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy: 22
Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts: 28
Museum Studies: 10
Connecticut Teacher Certification Program: 16

Other Notables
Fulbright fellowship winners: 6
Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellowship winner: 1
All-American athletes: 7


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