2018 Commencement celebrates accomplishments of its 184 graduates
A week of rainy weather broke just long enough for New College to hold its 52nd Commencement ceremony under the big tent on the Bayfront on Friday, May 18.
There were 184 graduates, including seven from the College’s master’s degree program in data science. Many alumni returned for the evening, including one of particular note: keynote speaker, Dr. Margee Ensign, the new president of Dickinson College.
“New College is a revolutionary place where truth is vigorously sought and treasured, freedom of speech and of inquiry cherished. Never, never underestimate its value. For this is the sort of place, you the sort of people, upon which our futures must be built,” she told the graduates and guests.
Chemistry Professor Paul Scudder, retiring after 40 years at New College, shared his thoughts on how students learn. “We can’t teach critical thinking from the front of the class. Students have to be given problems with branches to explore and have the instructor guide and refine their decision-making. They need to learn from bad decisions, be encouraged to explore alternatives, and not be given an answer to memorize.”
This year, the graduating class voted to have three classmates share the student address. Leen Al-Fatafta, Giulia Howard and Miles Iton spoke on the issue of diversity and equality at New College and in the world.
“It’s about refusing to surrender to a broken social order that continues to keep us from our dignified humanity,” Al-Fatafta said. “So really, it’s about faith, it’s about believing that the ills of this world are not without end, because a different world is not only possible, it’s already in the making.”
As has become tradition, many students collected a diploma in costume – including Mother Earth, a lobster, a shark, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, and a reclusive Thomas Pynchon.
As she closed, Dr. Ensign recalled a New College motto: “In the final analysis education is our individual responsibility.”
“That was true when I was a student here, and it is still true today. It takes courage to come to New College,” she said. “So stoke that courage, and apply your hard-won knowledge as you face the challenges of a planet that is heating, and a politics in the U.S. — and in many other countries, too — that would divide us and turn us upon each other. You can make this a better world. You can do it.”
Guidance Counselors learn the value of New College
More than 40 high school guidance counselors took a tour of New College June 14 as part of the Sweet Tea Tour, sponsored by the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling.
Guidance counselors, many of whom had never been to New College before, learned about what the College has to offer, gathering information about scholarships, the curriculum, student life and more.
The association’s bus tour visited 14 campuses across North and Central Florida, including Ringling College of Art & Design, Eckerd College, Stetson University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
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