Hanover College celebrated its 186th Commencement with the presentation of diplomas to members of the Class of 2019. The ceremony was held Saturday, May 25, at the Point.
Hanover’s graduating class included 223 students, featuring 42 scholars who earned diplomas with honors. Thirteen graduates achieved high honors (magna cum laude) and seven students completed their degrees with highest honors (summa cum laude).
Rusty Rueff, an acclaimed Silicon Valley investor, advisor, author, podcast host and venture coach for startup companies, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Ian Jiles ’19 delivered the class address. President Lake Lambert and Mark Levett ’71, chair of Hanover’s Board of Trustees, welcomed students, families and guests. Dawn Doup-Pandit ’98 offered remarks on behalf of the College's alumni association. The Rev. Catherine Y.E. Knott, Hanover’s chaplain, performed the benediction and invocation.
After conferral of his honorary degree, Rueff, in his response to the graduating class, encouraged, “I am calling on you, graduates of the Class of 2019, to pay attention, to wake and rise up with your time that you have invested over the last four years to learn to be difference-makers to be the counter-attack to where we are trending.”
He urged the graduates, noting, “Our society needs your commitment to being trained and conditioned to having long thoughts, to promise to take the time to reason before you speak or write, to commit quality time daily to speak by voice and face-to-face with friends and family, to carve out quiet time that you do nothing so that your mind can detox and mend, to invest time in being physically, mentally and spiritually fit, to giving of your time to someone who needs it so that they can receive the gift that is you in their lives."
Rueff encouraged, stating, “I challenge you to think of every waking moment as an investment of time into the best version of the others around you and the community you live in, which, efficiently, will be using your time to make also a better version of you.”
Jiles explored his reasons for attending Hanover, shared thoughts on his version of the meaning of a liberal arts education and implored his classmates, regardless of their area of study, to simply be helpful.
A sociology major, Jiles offered, “I reached the conclusion that the purpose of what we’ve been doing here is to help in any way that we can. While we cannot save the world, we can help at least one person out there. Even if we do not make waves of change through conversation or research or work, we will have an impact somewhere on someone. And I would like to think that to them it would mean the world.”
Spurring his classmates, Jiles closed his comments by stating, “I always wanted to be a hero as a kid. Though there’s a lot less emphasis on capes and spandex in my head nowadays, the core principle of helping is still deeply rooted. The world needs heroes whether their powers are in KIP, biology or economics, computer sciences, math, or sociology, chemistry, art, or psychology. And the Class of 2019 has proven that we’re capable, willing and ready to be heroes."
The ceremony also featured selections by the Hanover College Choir and the Hanover College Instrumental Ensemble.
The Hanover College Choir, under the direction of Madlen Batchvarova, professor of music, performed selections from Darla Eshelman and Chester Alwes. The choir also led the class in the traditional singing “The Alma Mater” with music by Meredith Willson and words by Katharine McAfee Parker.
The Hanover College Instrumental Ensemble, directed by David Mruzek, associate professor of music, performed William Henry Monk’s “Abide with Me” and processional and recessional medleys.
Marshals for the commencement ceremony were Ann Kirkland, professor of French, Dan Murphy, professor of history, and Ruth Turner, professor of political science.
Rev. Christopher Henry, senior pastor at the Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, delivered the sermon during the College's traditional baccalaureate service. The event was held Friday, May 24, in Fitzgibbon Recital Hall, Lynn Center for Fine Arts.
Madeline Rathgeber Meyer '19 and Samuel Pyle '20 read scripture during the service.