652 graduate from North Central College
June 11, 2011 5:20PM
Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine, will deliver the address June 11 at the 146th Commencement ceremony of North Central College, which is celebrating the Sesquicentennial of its founding in 1861. | Submitted by NCC
Carolyn Kalafut’s student commencement speech
“When I sat down to write this speech, I began reminiscing about my time as a college student. This brought me all the way back to my very first day here at North Central College. I can remember the nervous excitement that I had as my parents drove me here on move-in day. I had this extraordinary feeling as though my life was about to change completely.
“Even though I was eager to begin this new independent and adult chapter of my life, a part of me was absolutely and utterly terrified. I remember getting into Naperville and timidl stepping out of my car in front of Rall Hall. I had the typical freshman ‘deer in the headlights’ look and was completely clueless as to what I should be doing. But before I could even spend time being nervous President Hal Wilde, wearing his signature red NC cap and a big smile walked over and welcomed me to North Central College. Before I knew it, a swarm of huge football players all in matching T-shirts grabbed my stuff as though it was weightless and whisked it up to Room 305.
“The rest of my first day was a whirlwind of experiences. I learned that “going to the cage” was not a type of cruel and unusual punishment. I learned that I was definitely going to go bankrupt buying books not two but three times a year. And when I had my first meal at Kaufman, I learned that you do not mess with Joan. But what I remember most distinctly from my first day at North Central, four long years ago, is something quite simple. I remember the message on the football players’ matching move-in shirts. On the back of each shirt were the words: Welcome Home.
For the past four years that is exactly what North Central College has been: it has been home, our little Cardinal nest. Whether you started here as a first year, a transfer, or a graduate student North Central has become more than just the school we attend. Not only has North Central become our home, but the people who make up the North Central community have become our family. Our professors have become our mentors beyond the classroom. Our coaches and teammates have become our confidants and our biggest fans. Our classmates have become our motivation to push ourselves academically. And our friends, our friends have become our support system and will be permanent fixtures in our lives long after we have graduated.
“What has been revealed to us during our time at North Central is that we possess the potential to achieve things beyond what we could ever imagine. Each and every one of us has become a better version of the person who started here. In our four years here we have learned so much more than what was written in our text books. Through the interdisciplinary style of teaching here at our small liberal arts college we have learned not only the subject matter of our degrees, but a combination of leadership, ethics and values that will surely serve us well in whatever endeavors we pursue in the future.
“A wise professor, for whom this track is named after, Al Carius, once said in a class of mine that “Success Breeds Success.” We have all become a part of the legacy of success here at North Central. Before me sits those who have conducted and presented research, those who have traveled the world, volunteered their time and services, been leaders on campus. Those who have starred in plays and musicals, made music and made art. Those who have won conference championships, and those who have won national championships. Each and every one of us has been successful during our time here and will without a doubt continue to strive for excellence in the future.
“So whether you are sad to say goodbye to North Central or cannot wait to leave, I know that we can all look back fondly on the time that we’ve spent here. We can laugh about the silly stuff we did while we were trying to get smarter. We can try to remember the memories we made with our friends Jimmy, Rizzo, Louie and, of course, Frankie. But most of importantly, when we think of North Central College, we can think about the people sitting here with us today; our Cardinal family.
“Because for better or worse, whether we like it or not North Central College has become a part of us and we have become a part of North Central College. And whether your next step in life is grad school, the work force, an internship, getting married, joining the Peace Corps, or finding yourself on some existential quest. Whether you move to Tennessee, Seattle, Africa or just temporarily move back to your parents’ house, we will always, always have a home here at North Central.
“And as we prepare to leave our home, to leave our little nest in Naperville, we do so with the utmost confidence that we will be able to overcome any obstacle in our way. We have learned that when you put your mind to something, you may surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. We have learned who we are, what we stand for and what we hope to contribute to society. And as we go forward, we must strive to create a world that we are proud to live in. “If we utilize the skills and life lessons we have learned here, there is no doubt in my mind that we all can soar.
“Congratulations Class of 2011 Cardinals! It’s time to spread our wings and fly.”
Updated: October 4, 2011 12:36AM
This is a special year at North Central College in Naperville, and Saturday was an equally special day for 652 students who earned degrees during graduation ceremonies at the school.
Of those graduating in this, North Central’s 150th year, were 529 students earning bachelor’s degrees and 123 getting advanced degrees.
Among the 529 undergraduates, 86 earned cum laude, 46 magna cum laude and 24 summa cum laude honors.
A number of students from Naperville earned special academic honors, including:
Joseph Antonacci: Received two honors, Outstanding Major in Accounting and The Wall Street Journal Award. He has accepted a full-time position with Deloitte LLP.
Kathryn Braun: Received two honors, Outstanding Major in Spanish and Outstanding Student in the Division of Arts and Letters. She has been accepted to a graduate program in Spanish linguistics at the University of Illinois.
Patrick Burfield: Outstanding Major in Literature.
Bianca Gavin: Outstanding Major in German. She has been accepted to graduate school to study German at the University of Illinois.
Carolina Hirsch: Outstanding Major in International Business.
Etienne Mashuli: Outstanding Major in Political Science, Etienne Nsanzimana and Zilipa Nyiransabuwiteka.
Lisa Mueller: James Henry Breasted 1890 Outstanding Major in History.
Nathan Pierson: Outstanding Major in Mathematics. Hhe has received a full, paid fellowship to the Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of Notre Dame.
Marcy Thomas: Outstanding Major in Art.
During the ceremony at the Residence Hall/Recreation Center at the school, Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine, delivered the commencement address.
Honorary degrees were awarded to Brenda Barnes, former chief executive of Sara Lee Corp.; Roger Hruby, a business leader and entrepreneur; and Myron Wentz, a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and best-selling author. Hruby and Wentz are alumni of North Central College.