SENIOR CONVOCATION Class of 2002 Gathers For Senior Convocation By Amanda McGrath Hoya Staff Writer
Tracy Zupancis/For The Hoya Jonah Nolan (COL ’99) and University President John J. DeGioia sing the Alma Mater during Senior Convocation Monday evening.
Members of the class of 2002, dressed in graduation caps and gowns, gathered Wednesday afternoon at McDonough Gymnasium to participate in the annual senior Convocation, an event designed bring together all 1,509 members of the graduating class in celebration of their four years at Georgetown and their pending commencement.
The ceremony incorporated students from all four undergraduate schools. A variety of speakers toasted the achievements of the class of 2002. Some were nostalgic and reminisced about the experiences of their college years while others focused on the future ahead.
“This is a remarkable senior class,” University Provost Dorothy Brown (GRD ’62) said. “Here’s to the future – you, the class of 2002, soon to be alumni . you have forged lifelong bonds with each other and with the Hilltop.”
This year’s featured Convocation speaker was Jonah Nolan (COL ’99), who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in February for Memento. Nolan, a former Hoya staff writer, recited Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” and, with hints of both sarcasm and seriousness, reflected on his experiences both inside and beyond Healy Gates. He called attending Georgetown an “arbitrary decision” but noted that whether they chose Georgetown consciously or capriciously, none of the gathered seniors knew what they had in store. “No matter what your reasons, you had no idea what you were getting into. We were all kind of guessing,” he said.
“I’ll spare you the idea that you are at a crossroads,” Nolan said to the crowd. “The secret of the Georgetown gift is that the bulk of it is reserved for after you leave here.” His remarks were met by a standing ovation.
In addition to speakers, the ceremony also included the presentation of the class banner and the class gift.
A record high $19,972 was collected for the senior class gift, which will include a contribution to Georgetown financial aid programs as well as the development of a garden on N Street between 36th and 37th streets. About 68 percent of the graduating class – 1,052 donors in total – contributed to the fundraising. “We broke every record ever set for the senior class gift at GU,” chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee Roger Gill (MSB ’02) said.
Gill said that 23 more donors were needed in order to achieve the 70 percent class donation rate, at which point chair of the Annual Fund council Cary Grace (COL ’90) has agreed to contribute an additional $10,000.
Three graduating students, chosen by a selection committee, addressed their fellow seniors with speeches centered on Convocation’s theme, “The Gift.” They reflected on lessons learned at Georgetown and commented on the elements that made up the students and education at the university.
“It’s been [an experience] of ambiguity, of highs and lows, of a confused identity,” Alison Eakle (COL ’02) said, referring to conflicting elements within the Georgetown experience. “That self questioning, the inner conflict, that wonderment will follow us out of Healy Gates.”
Brian Zunich (COL ’02) said an education at the university was about more than a diploma. “Discourse. Contemplation. The rigorous pursuit of truth. These words may not be written on our diplomas but that’s really what four years here have given us,” Zunich said.
The ceremony also recognized retiring staff and faculty. University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79) also announced the creation of the Dorothy M. Brown distinguished Professorship in American History, to honor Brown’s 23 years of service to the university community.
Moments of humor prevailed throughout the Convocation ceremony. Brown congratulated the graduating class for their 647 disciplinary incidents – four more than the class of 2001, an achievement that drew laughter and cheers from the students. On a more serious note, Brown also noted that the class had now come full circle, gathered together again for a Convocation ceremony that mirrored their freshman Convocation four years earlier.
This was the third annual Senior Convocation ceremony. The event has become a Georgetown tradition.