Class of 2012, Welcome to the Alumni Family
Candlelighting Ceremony, May 19, 2012
Erika N.D. Stanat ’90, President of the Bucknell University Alumni Association
Speaking to graduates and their families on the Academic Quad
"Good evening. It is my distinct honor and privilege to be here this evening, representing more than 50,000 Bucknell alumni worldwide, to congratulate you, members of the Class of 2012, and to tell you how very proud we are of you and your accomplishments on this occasion of your graduation.
You know from your participation in First Night nearly three and one-half years ago that you officially became “alumni” upon the successful completion of your first semesters at Bucknell. I suspect however, that in the past several years, you have not identified yourselves as alumni, but have instead defined, described and identified yourselves as Bucknell students. Well tomorrow, that all changes. Tomorrow will begin your days defining, identifying and describing yourselves as Bucknell alumni.
Now, you may be wondering, how this transition affects your relationship and your connection with Bucknell. And you may be wondering if you are prepared for this change. Well I can assure you that Bucknell is more than a part of your past and that you, in fact, are fully prepared for this transition. You have spent four years building the foundation of your relationship with Bucknell University and preparing – perhaps without knowing it - to become alumni. Because our connection with Bucknell as alumni is built on that same foundation you have built as students.
You brought with you to Bucknell a sense of engagement. You brought passion, enthusiasm and curiosity to the classroom, learning from professors who served as your mentors and supporters, who pushed you, challenged you, and encouraged you to ensure your preparedness for the bright future that lies ahead. As Bucknellians, you have engaged fully in this campus community, giving of your time and talent, whether serving as athletes and teammates on the athletic fields and in the gym, as artists, musicians and performers on the stage, in the theater, and in the studios across campus, or as leaders and members of student organizations across campus that combine to make Bucknell such an exciting, vibrant, and full community.
You have been caretakers of those Bucknellians who are following in your footsteps - the underclass men and women who arrived on campus after your freshman year. For those students, you served as tour guides, orientation assistants, resident assistants, teaching assistants, mentors, advisors and friends … all for the single-minded purpose of ensuring that the Bucknellians who follow you have experiences that are as rewarding and as enriching as your own have been.
You have built for yourselves a family of choice at Bucknell, selecting each member of that family carefully. These are the people on whom you rely to celebrate your successes, on whom you lean in times of trouble, with whom you can be your most intellectual and academic, and who still love you when you are your silliest and most inane. These people who will serve as a vital part of your support network for the rest of your lives.
During this past year, you have made financial gifts to Bucknell in support of the senior gift drive. You have made these gifts for three purposes: to pay tribute to the four years you have spent on this campus, to show your confidence in Bucknell and its mission in the present, and to show your support of the University’s future as Bucknell continues its institutional journey to discover what it can become.
And finally, after the end of each semester and after every break, you’ve come home … to Bucknell. You’ve come home to continue to build this foundation of your lifelong relationship with this University.
As alumni, we do these same things.
We engage with our Bucknell community. We volunteer for Bucknell, serving on alumni boards and organizations and serving as volunteers for the Annual Fund, ambassadors for Admissions, mentors for the Public Interest Program, and in countless other ways. We open the doors for future generations of Bucknellians, offering internships and externships in our offices, participating in and hosting networking events, and making those critical introductions that allow Bucknell students and young alumni to get that proverbial foot in the door. We nurture and tend to our Bucknell families, ensuring that those relationships remain strong and that we continue to serve as foundations of support upon which our Bucknell friends can rely. We give to the University each year, in support of its mission, for the same reasons you just did: to pay tribute to our own four years on campus, to show our support of Bucknell’s present, and to steward BUCKNELL into the brightest of futures. And finally, we come home … as often as Bucknell will allow us.
I encourage you to embrace the things that have made you passionate about Bucknell as a student and carry them forward. If you continue to nurture, tend to, and grow the relationship with Bucknell you have begun to build during these past four years, Bucknell will be yours for a lifetime and your life will continue to be enriched by this remarkable University. In closing tonight, congratulations Class of 2012, and … ‘ray Bucknell!"