Yet another class will graduate from Goshen College in the 119th commencement ceremony on April 30.During commencement weekend, a number of events will be available for students, graduates and their families on Saturday afternoon and evening, as well as Sunday morning.
The weekend will kick off with the Senior Class Program. Graduating students will have the opportunity to showcase a handful of different talents and reflect on their time at Goshen College.
This event is open to the public and will take place in Sauder Concert Hall. Following that program will be the President’s Reception for graduates and their families.
On Sunday morning, the baccalaureate service will take place at 11 a.m., with an address by President James Brenneman. President Brenneman said he’s feeling mixed emotions as the event nears, as this will be his last Goshen College commencement as president.
“For me, commencement has always been the emotional high point of every year as we send our beloved graduates forth to change the world for the better,” Brenneman said.
But for Brenneman, the loss of one class doesn’t mean an empty hole for next year.
“I have learned with the passing years,” he said, “that their departure always opens up new opportunities for students coming behind them who always rise to the occasion with new energy, ever more amazing accomplishments and great leadership.”
As Brenneman wraps up his final year as president, he said he relates to graduating students.
“I feel like many of those commencing on to new vistas: sad to say goodbye to wonderful students, colleagues and friends, excited for the opportunities that await me, assured that GC will accomplish ever greater things in the years to come,” said Brenneman.
Following the baccalaureate service will be the Commencement Brunch for graduates, families and friends. The meal will be hosted by Ken Newbold, provost. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Juanita Lark Welcome Center.
Finally, at 3 p.m., the official commencement ceremony will begin. Luis Fraga, co-director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, will be the speaker at the ceremony.
Fraga has spent most of his life dedicated to studying politics. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in government, Fraga poured himself into improving politics surrounding race and ethnicity, Latino politics, education politics and immigration policy.
Due to his hard work, Fraga has a long list of prestigious roles and awards. Besides serving on President Barack Obama’s Commission on Hispanic Higher Education, Fraga served as president of the Board of Directors of OneAmerica, an immigrant rights and advocacy organization in Seattle.
When looking for a commencement speaker, President Brenneman said that Fraga was a great choice.
“[Fraga is] a dynamic speaker and personality, a strong supporter of Goshen College’s vision to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, a person deeply committed to the core values of Goshen College, a symbol of the collaborative intercultural research GC has done with Notre Dame over the years and a personal friend,” said Brenneman.
Kathleen Yoder, executive assistant for the office of the president, said the commencement committee begins searching a year in advance for the right commencement speaker. Once the committee has found a group of speakers whom they believe are the best choices, President Brenneman then chooses who to invite as the commencement speaker.
“It was an easy choice,” Yoder said. “We are honored that Dr. Fraga accepted President Brenneman’s invitation to speak at the 2017 commencement ceremony.”
President Brenneman then mentioned how Fraga’s speech will end his time as Goshen College President.
“I thought having Dr. Fraga speak was a fitting bookend to the first commencement I attended as president-elect in 2006,” he said, “when I asked my friend, Dr. Michael Mata, an equally strong Latino educator in Southern California and beyond to be our commencement speaker then.”
The commencement, taking place at the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center, is open to students. For those who are unable to attend the event, a live-stream will be available.