Congratulations to the Class of 2013
A clear, mild spring day set the scene for this year’s College commencement, held on Saturday, May 11. In all, 118 graduates make up the Class of 2013, 102 of whom received BAs and 16, BS degrees.
After welcoming graduating seniors, friends, and family to the College, President Jonathan Palmer, offered special congratulations to the Class of 2013. “We first met officially in this same auditorium in September of 2009,” Dr. Palmer said. “We were all fairly new. I had just come to Principia as president and you had just started at the College. We spent a few moments together after that first convocation, and I suggested to you that we would gather again, here, at your graduation day. And so we have. Congratulations.”
Also honored at commencement was Professor John Near, the retiring William Martin and Mina Merrill Prindle Professor of Fine Arts. Dr. Near joined the College faculty in 1985, teaching organ, music, and opera history and co-directing eight Principia Abroad programs to Western and Eastern Europe over the years. He was also the College organist, playing for Christian Science Organization services, weekly hymn sings, and countless special events, including this year’s commencement. Dr. Near joins a distinguished list of 66 emeriti faculty and staff.
Outgoing president of The Mother Church, Chet Manchester (C’82), CSB, delivered the commencement address, encouraging graduates to consider the contribution they can make in the world. “The college you’re graduating from grew out of inspiration,” Manchester said. “Its position high on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi is really an expression of the far-reaching vision behind this school. Mrs. Morgan envisioned an approach to education that would lift you up mentally and spiritually and inspire you to be contributors to the world. And, of course, the inspiration behind her vision was the work of Mary Baker Eddy, an author and religious reformer who, when Principia was founded, was the most dynamic and influential woman in America.”
Manchester further asked graduates to consider the role that church will play in their lives as they leave Principia, begin careers, and enter the next phase of their experience. “Church is the laboratory where we all get to practice reflecting love for one another,” he said. “It’s actually the experience in our lives where we learn to breathe out! That’s just as essential to life as breathing in! We breathe in the spiritual inspiration from God, from divine Love, and we breathe it out in our love for one another. This is what church gives us the opportunity to do.”
In the days leading up to commencement, the President’s Forum was held Thursday evening in the Chapel. Former physics and math professor Dr. David Gibbs gave the address. And the next evening, four students, chosen by their peers, delivered baccalaureate speeches in Cox Auditorium. You can listen to Manchester’s and Gibbs’s addresses as well as the student speeches on Principia Internet Radio at www.principia.edu/radio.