Courage to Commence

 

Messages of courage dominated Colby's 185th Commencement on Sunday, May 28. With Miller Library as a backdrop, President William D. Adams presented diplomas to the 465 members of the Class of 2006 on a glorious, sunny day.

By Ruth Jacobs
 


Looking Back, Moving Forward

%procession2%right%Listen to President Adams' baccalaureate address to the class of 2006
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Read the transcript of the speech

225#" Francis Chapuredima '06 left Zimbabwe four years ago and became one of the most admired members of his class"and the student-elected class speaker. Following his spirited address, which began with African drumming and ended with a standing ovation, Commencement speaker, author, and columnist Anna Quindlen called courage "the secret of life."

You already know how important courage is," she said. "After all, you chose as your class speaker someone from a small village in Zimbabwe who got on a plane to transcend hemispheres, customs, and cultures to come to Colby College. You can look at him and know that a flying leap of fearlessness is possible."

While greatness stems from courage, no good comes from fear, she said. "You must learn to put the fear aside or at least refuse to allow it to rule you. . . . It is fear that always tamps down our authentic selves."

As if anticipating Quindlen's theme, Chapuredima began his speech by sharing his realization that, to deliver the class speech, he did not need to conform to any formula. "I'm going to be myself," he declared. "The next problem though is . . . me. As you can hear I have a very thick accent. I've been here for four years but I haven't done much to try to speak like the rest of you. I guess I've been busy trying to stay warm."

Chapuredima called upon his classmates to continue their service to others. "I think we're privileged to have been educated at Colby, and hopefully we can embrace the societal responsibilities our privileged position brings," he said.

An Oak Scholar at Colby, Chapuredima thanked the benefactors of his scholarship, Alan and Jette Parker, who, by coincidence, were on stage to receive an honorary degree. To his surprise, Chapuredima received another honor: Colby's Randall J. Condon Medal, for commitment to constructive citizenship, the only prize presented at commencement.

For more on Commencement 2006, including videos and transcripts, visit the Commencement Web site.image
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