Graduation holds special memories

When students walk across the stage at Commencement, not only is it the culmination of four years of hard work, it’s a celebration of their achievement.

While the day may hold an additional special moment, such as getting engaged, like any major event, things can also go awry. We asked alumni on our Facebook page to share what stood out most in their minds the day they graduated from Hanover.

Dan ’75 and I broke the news to my parents that we were engaged,” wrote Laura Smith Hodges ’75. “We probably should have been a little more sensitive!

“I was still jet-lagged from my flight back from (my) Shakespeare-in-England (class). Nevertheless, 37 years later, the decision to marry Dan turned out to be a good one!”

Sue Alder Tschuor ’83 and her classmates were disappointed because rain prevented the ceremony from being held at The Point.

“I remember being so sad because I didn't want to leave,” she wrote. “(I) loved my Hanover days and love the memories I still hold dear to my heart.”

“I'm with Sue — it was so HOT in the gym!” exclaimed Jill Philbrick Keefe ’83. “I was jet-lagged from the (flight back from the) Shakespeare in England class and remember so little of that day. My parents gave me a car, my best friend from home came along, my grandmother was there in a wheelchair and my dad ‘stole’ a U-Haul to get my stuff back to northern Illinois.”

In 1987, there was an infestation of magicicadas, a type of insect that can emerge synchronously in tremendous numbers, making a droning noise.

“They were everywhere and so loud,” wrote Paula Owen Zimmerman ’87 as she prepared for her daughter’s high school commencement before enrolling in Hanover this fall.

“We couldn't graduate at The Point they were so bad. (They) had to move (graduation) to the football field.”

Like Hodges, Alicia Lynch Stevens ’94 found her future husband at Hanover, but meeting his extended family added some extra pressure to her big role that day.

“I met my boyfriend’s (Jason ’94) grandmother and extended family for the first time at graduation,” she wrote. “That made me all the more nervous to be the commencement speaker. I must have done okay. We got married and they've let me hang around as part of that family for almost 20 years now!”

Steve Alexander ’90 discovered while attending wife Casey Bonsett ’91’s graduation that it’s never too early to learn the importance of paying attention.

“(I watched her) get her diploma and then went to the FIJI house to watch the NBA playoffs (Lakers-Blazers) and had her camera with me,” wrote Alexander. “An hour later, about 10 people told me ‘Casey is looking for you and her camera, and she is not happy.’ And when I eventually found her, they were right.”

For the class of 1977, graduation day turned into a fitting bookend to the class who ended their first year with the tornado of 1974.

“I guess it was fitting that the graduation ceremony would be disrupted by a huge thunderstorm that rolled in out of nowhere,” wrote Jean Ross Ozols ’77. “These were the days before Doppler radar and The Weather Channel.

“About a third of the way into the program, black clouds rolled in with thunder, lightning and rain pouring down. Everyone scattered. Since there were no contingency plans, (we) graduates somehow found our way to Parker Auditorium where we were quickly lined up in alphabetical order and marched across the stage to get our diplomas. It was pretty chaotic.”

Unfortunately, in the rush for shelter, many parents, including Ozols’, weren’t able to watch their students receive their diplomas.

“(My parents) ran to Classic Hall with many others thinking the ceremony would reconvene once the storm blew through. I remember walking out of Parker, past the student speaker who was giving his commencement address to a group of students in the lobby, and into the bright sunshine to find my parents. The storm passed through as quickly as it had arrived.”

For more graduation memories, visit Hanover’s Facebook page.