The Daily Telegram (By Brad Heineman) — After a tumultuous and unpredictable couple of years brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Adrian College’s Class of 2022 was delivered a message of hope and the assurance that a lifelong commitment to learning was to continue for them far beyond Sunday’s commencement ceremony.
There were 275 students who received their undergraduate degrees and 30 additional students who received graduate degrees during Adrian College’s 2022 spring commencement exercises, which marked the 163rd year of the college. Sunday’s ceremony was also a return to normalcy for the college, as graduation was held in its traditional location on campus, along Commencement Plaza in the heart of campus, for the first time since 2019.
While students combatted windy conditions — having to keep their hair in place, their tassels on the correct side of their caps and the frequent mortarboard getting blown off someone’s head — any threatening chance of rain held off for the entirety of the two-hour service.
Emmy Award-winning author, journalist, filmmaker and retired Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich, this year’s commencement speaker, informed the Class of 2022 it was both important and crucial for them to stay hopeful beyond their years in college. To better convey the message of staying hopeful, Reich read a quote from Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born, American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor.
“My job is teaching my readers and my students the art of inventing hope, even when there is no hope,” Reich read. “Let despair take care of itself. I believe more in hope.”
“So do I, and I hope you do, too,” Reich said.
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees — awarded for significant contributions to society — were awarded to Kenneth MacLaren, owner of MacLaren Management LLC, who has been a part of education since the 1960s and became part of the real estate and development industry during the 1970s, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. MacLaren was recognized for his role in education and also for his latest venture: the construction of the recently completed Comfort Inn & Suites located across from Adrian College Boulevard along U.S. 223.
Zelenskyy was honored in abstentia as a symbol of hope for his country during its war with Russia.
Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking said Adrian College is one of among 25 colleges and universities across the country that have agreed to co-present Zelenskyy with an honorary degree. Siena Heights University also will recognize Zelenskyy during its commencement ceremonies, scheduled for May 7-8.
“I feel like, that regardless of your political persuasion, regardless of whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative, we all should be able to agree that what is happening to those poor people in Ukraine is wrong. In fact, it is evil,” Docking said. “The unrelenting bombings, day-after-day, the war crimes against those poor children and their citizens, the reprehensible actions set in motion by (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, calls on all colleges and universities, and all civilized people throughout the world, to come together as one and to say, ‘This is unacceptable. Especially in this century.’”
Laurel Krause, Class of 2022 president, and Darcy Fender, Class of 2022 vice president, informed Docking of the class’s intention to purchase 100 American flags to line the U.S. 223 entrance to the college as its class gift.
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