Wooster’s 154th Commencement celebrates strength, resilience, and preparation for success in the Class of 2024

The College of Wooster’s 154th Commencement Ceremony celebrated the Class of 2024

The College of Wooster’s 154th Commencement Ceremony celebrated the Class of 2024 on Saturday, May 11, 2024, in the Scot Center with an excited crowd of family, friends, and members of the College community. Coming back to Wooster as the head men’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina, Fighting Scot alumnus Lamont Paris ’96 encouraged the nearly 400 graduates to recognize the preparation they received at the College to respond to failure “when (not if) it happens” in his commencement address.

President Anne McCall celebrated the graduating class in her opening remarks, acknowledging the strengths she sees them taking with them as they become Wooster alumni. “When I look at you, I see that you leave with knowledge and experiences across the liberal arts, with habits of humble listening, of finding, sifting through, studying, and weighing evidence that will distinguish you as careful thinkers,” McCall said. “I also see creativity and a certain boldness of vision that will make you compelling artists, engaged community members, and global problem-solvers.”

Offering the commencement address, Paris shared what an honor it was for him to return to his alma mater to speak to the graduating class. He spoke of his journey from his time as a business economics major, basketball player, and new graduate at Wooster to speaking at the podium on stage. “For me I don’t measure that distance in time. I measure it in failures,” said Paris, who went on to encourage the day’s graduates to reexamine their relationship with failure.

“Rely on failure. More specifically, rely on the growth that comes with responding to failure properly. Your failures are temporary, your growth is permanent,” Paris said. “As a College of Wooster graduate, you are prepared for obstacles, for curve balls, and for the unknown. You are prepared for failures, but most importantly, you are prepared for success!”

Wooster’s Class of 2024 began their undergraduate education learning to navigate hybrid classes and health regulations both in the classroom and in a world changed by the coronavirus pandemic. Senior speaker, Sukriti Chiripal ’24, a dual major in psychology and economics from Kolkata, India, spoke of how she and her classmates “navigated through asymmetry and adversity” and the memories they created in their time at Wooster from celebrating I.S. Monday to “finding a community that we know will always be rooting for us.” She added, “Our time here together as a senior class is not going to be remembered by grades, popularity, likes, or favorites, but by our relationships, the kind of person you were, the kind of social capital you created. These are our legacies.”

Tyler Hilbert ’24, the second senior speaker and a business economics major with minors in statistical and data sciences and physical education from Plain City, Ohio, spoke of the inspiration he draws from the positivity of his mother, a cancer survivor, and encouraged his classmates to face the next chapters of their lives by “being different” in this same way. “Being different is treating each person with love, despite differences. Being different is treating each day as an opportunity, despite struggle. And being different is treating your life as a story with limitless potential, despite the restrictions the world will put on you.”

As the ceremony came to a close, President McCall welcomed Brianna Mosley ’24, now a music graduate to the stage to perform her rendition of “Never Enough,” a song from the movie The Greatest Showman. While she noted the lyrics may seem somber, she reflected on how they represent the strengths of her class having first met each other mostly covered by face masks and their excitement for the day’s celebration. “There’s something to be said about resilience and unwavering kindness in the face of that kind of heartbreaking adversity,” said Mosley. “When you hear these lyrics, I hope you think of the people around you who have gotten you through your darkest moments of college as we share this moment together.”

Saturday’s ceremony also featured an invocation led by Rev. Walter Clark, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County and a benediction led by Rev. David Rice, Wooster trustee and pastor and head of staff for the First Presbyterian Church of Wooster. After being welcomed to the Alumni Association by Sandeep Bhatia ’89, past president of the alumni board, the Class of 2024 made the traditional recession led by the College’s Pipe Band, and graduates, community members, and families gathered together to continue the celebration.

Visit wooster.edu/commencement to view a full archived video of the Commencement ceremony, access the official program, and watch archived videos from the weekend’s events.

Posted in News on May 13, 2024.