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Enjoy the weekend back at your alma mater. Sit in on classes, test out the climbing tower, and attend a varsity football game. Best of all, of course, will be reconnecting with your friends and classmates. You’ll be amazed how quickly the years fade away as you discover how much you still have in common!
This year’s class parties will be at one of St. Louis’s most beautiful venues, the Chase Park Plaza, so plan on capping off the weekend there, enjoying dinner, music, and dancing with your friends.
See the plans for the weekend and register soon—early bird rates end July 31!]]>
After welcoming graduating seniors, friends, and family to the College, President Jonathan Palmer expressed appreciation for the exceptional leadership shown by members of the graduating class in academics, athletics, and student activities, including the mediation, solar car, and rugby teams, as well as in Principia’s institutes. “I am so grateful to know that in this year’s graduating class I have a whole group of colleagues and friends,” Dr. Palmer remarked. “It has been a privilege to see your growth, your triumphs, and your challenges. I am pretty confident in saying that Principia did not leave you where it found you. And we hope that you, and all in the audience today, will continue to stay in touch with us. We will follow your paths from here with great interest.”
Before awarding diplomas, Dr. Palmer welcomed Graham Grady, this year’s commencement speaker. An attorney and social activist committed to civic endeavors, Grady is currently a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Chicago, representing property owners and real estate developers.
“Principia occupies a special place on the landscape of higher education in America,” Grady said. “I cannot think of a more tenacious, driven, and courageous group of people embarking on life’s journey beyond college. We are proud of you for pursuing your education and your faith simultaneously here at this storied institution.”
Encouraging graduates to use their Principia education for good in the world, he asked: “What can you do that’s unique and impactful? What is it that perhaps only you can contribute? This is your world. Shape it, or someone else will.”
As proof that he practices what he preaches, Grady is passionate about helping young people in underserved areas. He is a trustee for the Lloyd Fry Foundation, which supports programs that foster learning and innovation to improve conditions for low-income communities in Chicago. He is also a founder of the African American Legacy, a compendium of volunteers who partner with the Chicago Community Trust to support education, afterschool, and mentorship programs.
Commencement was the culmination of several days of activities, including speeches by graduating international students and the baccalaureate ceremony in Cox Auditorium. At the latter, four students chosen by their peers—Gustavo Batista, Dallen Russell, Savanna Sprague, and Abbie Steckler—delivered speeches. You can listen to Dr. Grady’s full address as well as the students’ speeches on Principia Internet Radio’s College Downloadable Radio Programs page.]]>
With these messages ringing in their ears, the Upper School Class of 2015 walked across the stage on May 30 to receive their diplomas and embark on the next step in their journey.
In his commencement address, Principia College biology professor Dr. Greg Bruland (C’97) used lessons from his experience as a graduate student at Duke University and a professor in Hawaii to assure students that Principians in the U.S. and all over the world are willing to help them in their next steps and that connecting deeply with people will enrich their experience.
In addition, Bruland cautioned the group to pay attention to the impact of technology on their lives. “Are you as attached and committed to God as you are to your technological devices?” he asked. “Are you as quick to respond to an angel message as you are to a text message? How can you creatively use your smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc., to deepen your connection to God and your neighbors?” Bruland further encouraged them to spend a proportionate amount of time in face-to-face conversation with a neighbor for every hour spent in front of a screen.
Fortunately, the array of opportunities at Principia has helped these digital natives leave their screens behind for a bit and head to the athletic fields, band room, art studio, and Ridgway stage. Alongside their achievements in these arenas, the members of this year’s senior class have also displayed unity and an appreciation for what Principia has given them. “I’ve loved the sense of community,” says Josh Barthelmess. “Principia offers many opportunities for students, is academically strong, and I’ve felt so much support from teachers and coaches.”
Class president Madison Arens points to the 100 percent contribution rate to the senior class gift as proof of the group’s gratitude for Principia. Through a combination of hard work and fun ideas, this year’s class raised $3,669.16 to give back to Principia.
Based on their record of college acceptances, our seniors are off to a great start. The class of 60 students received acceptances from colleges and universities across the country, including large and medium-size institutions, small liberal arts colleges, and schools focusing on science and technology. Here are a few of the institutions where they were accepted: American University, Boston University, Emerson College, Ithaca College, Michigan State University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Connecticut, Washington University in St. Louis, and of course, Principia College.
The class has certainly left an inspiring example for the rising seniors, and we’re confident each of these students will go on to continued growth and success.
Note: You can listen to Dr. Bruland’s full address on Principia Internet Radio’s School Downloadable Radio Programs page.]]>
The choir and orchestra kicked off the year with a concert celebrating the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Civil War Peace Accord. In a unique collaboration with students and faculty from the Theatre and Dance Department, the concert incorporated compelling visual media with music to expand the storytelling nature of the performances and included living portraits depicting circumstances related to the war. The evening culminated in a stirring portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln by former theatre professor Patrick McCreary (C’73) accompanied by the orchestra and followed by the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung with the audience.
A Tribute to American Heroes
Several weeks later, Principia hosted a talk by two Apollo 13 astronauts, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise, and former NASA Mission Flight Control Director Gene Kranz as part of the George A. Andrews Distinguished Speaker Series. Seizing the opportunity to present a special tribute to these American heroes, the Music Department collaborated with the government documents librarian and Media Services to assemble a special slideshow of photographs and video footage from the Apollo 13 mission. The night of the talk, the College Orchestra performed music from the Apollo 13 film to accompany the projected photos and video clips. The result was a powerful and emotional tribute.
The Apollo speakers’ appreciation for this performance led them to request a reprise in May when they addressed the University of Arkansas, so the orchestra recorded the music for the audience of over 2,500 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An Array of Student Performers
During the fall semester, the Music Department presented a special Composers Concert, which featured original music by freshman James Skinner, junior Nate Schuck, sophomore Matt Christianson, and senior Dani McKenzie. A multimedia ensemble rounded out the evening.
In March, Principia’s Jazz Ensemble traveled south to experience the music and culture of New Orleans at the French Quarter Jazz Festival. While there, the five-member ensemble and director Dr. Joe Van Riper, who is Music Department chair, gave a rousing performance at Music Legends Park on Bourbon Street.
The final choir and orchestra concert of the year opened with a series of spirituals and folk songs from the College Choir. Next, the orchestra’s performance included selections from Disney’s Fantasia, coordinated with images from the original film.
As if this weren’t enough, weekly Music at Davis concerts provided a performance venue for students taking individual lessons and rehearsing with ensembles. And Principia’s Concert Series brought professional instrumental and vocal musicians to campus throughout the year, including internationally renowned organist Dr. Douglas Cleveland, the Delphi Trio, and concert pianist Eric LeVan.
“This truly was an amazing year for the College Music Department,” says Van Riper. “We are so proud of our students and grateful for the wonderful opportunities that Principia provides our musicians.”
Principia’s concerts are broadcast live to a worldwide audience on Principia Internet Radio. You can find recordings of some of them here.]]>
Second grade teacher Doug Hoff has been developing the curriculum for this unit over several years, finding engaging child-friendly websites and resource materials to support learning. “The project is deep and allows the students to put pieces together to come to their own conclusions,” Hoff says. “Students learn how a rain forest functions and how the Embera and consumers fit into the picture. When they’d learn something new, they’d enthusiastically recall something they’d already learned and make a connection!”
Hoff appreciates the foundation for this unit established by former Principia teacher Rachel Crandell (C’65), who lived and worked in Costa Rica’s rain forest, visited the Embera and put their stories into writing, and introduced countless Principia students to its wonders. Building on that work, Hoff has developed the unit as a multidisciplinary study, incorporating science and art. Lower School science teacher Mary Jane Hoff (C’92) provided in-depth instruction in the ecology and biodiversity of the rain forest. And art teacher Louise Elmgren (C’84) guided students in creating their multimedia animals. The children also made colorful props and scenery for the presentation and to decorate the school hallways.
Earlier in the term, second graders visited the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) to learn more about the rain forest environment and animals. With its dense foliage and forest canopy, waterfall, and abundant tropical plant species, the Climatron at MOBOT gave students a close-up view of what living in a rain forest would be like.
Along with being fun, the Raiforans project sharpens students’ research and presentation skills and leads them to make connections with their present experience. “Many of the children become land stewards after this,” Hoff notes. “They understand more about positive and negative impacts on our planet, not in a guilty or sad way but in a proactive, thoughtful, and responsible way. This connection to their current lives is essential to the lesson, so that they are not simply learning about a place far away.”]]>
Another bonus to this program will be the close-knit learning community fostered among the students as they share their experiences both formally and informally. Early on, students will give a panel presentation about their projects to Summer Session adult learners. Then, in the fall, they’ll present their findings to the larger campus community. Students will also have opportunities to interact with experts in institutions related to their research—an invaluable opportunity to develop professional contacts.
In all, five professors—representing the Biology and Natural Resources, Theatre and Dance, and Political Science Departments—and 13 students are conducting research on the following topics:
Summertime Discovery is in session for the rest of June and three weeks in August. The schedule is flexible, so you’re in charge. Children may attend for two to five full or half days per week. Learn more and register.]]>
Summertime Discovery programming is available June 1–26 and August 3–21 for full or half days from two to five weekdays. Learn more and register!]]>