Select graduating students and faculty members were honored for their accomplishments at Georgetown University’s Tropaia ceremonies.
Members of the campus community gathered May 20 as part of commencement celebrations to celebrate and recognize academic accomplishments at the annual Tropaia ceremonies that are held by Georgetown College, the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), the McDonough School of Business (MSB), and the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS). Each school chooses students to be awarded based on their accomplishments both inside and outside of the classroom throughout their time at the university.
Each Tropaia ceremony includes a speaker from the graduating class who is selected by the school’s dean. Student speakers spoke on their times at Georgetown and the potential students have for change in the future.
Analise Irigoyen (MSB ’22), the student speaker at the MSB Tropaia ceremony, said her class has made the most of their time on the Hilltop despite facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we can all agree we have had a college experience like no other,” Irigoyen said at the ceremony. “Yet our class has taken this experience in stride, growing and learning from each unexpected challenge thrown our way. Why? Because we’re Hoyas.”
Kirk Zieser (SFS ’22), the student speaker at the SFS Tropaia ceremony, said Georgetown students are driven to make the world a better place.
“We’re not content to bask in the spotlight when we know there’s work to be done,” Zieser said at the event. “The issues we’re about to tackle when we walk out those front gates are huge, but they’re overshadowed by something. They’re overshadowed by the resolve of this SFS class of 2022 to confront today’s issues with thoughtfulness, empathy, and courage.”
Kirk Zieser was formerly an assistant photo editor for The Hoya.
Associate Dean of Georgetown College Bernard Cook said the Tropaia Ceremony enables the university to recognize all kinds of accomplishments from its students.
“We’re trying to view that as broadly and inclusively as possible,” Cook said to The Hoya. “So it’s not just straight GPA, it’s also research, contributions to a major or department or program.”
The Tropaia ceremonies are a longstanding tradition that originated with a ceremony held by the College for over 100 years. Later, the tradition was adopted by Georgetown’s other schools, according to Cook.
Escadar Alemayehu (NHS ’22), the student speaker at the NHS Tropaia ceremony, said her graduating class represented a wide array of people committed to making a difference in society as future health care workers and public servants.
“We recognize that the world needs us now, more than ever before, and today, we are gathered here in person to celebrate that,” Alemayehu said at the event. “In my time at Georgetown, I have been perpetually amazed by the triumphs of our class, and the innovative ways in which you all approach health equity.”
Sabrina Sawhney (COL ’22), the student speaker at the College Tropaia Ceremony, said her peers must carry the values taught to them by Georgetown for the rest of their lives to create positive change.
“As we transition from our undergraduate education we should draw on our shared experiences, help each other out, remember all the good lessons we learned from the people here, and commit to making the world a better place,” Sawhney said at the event. “It is our time now to go forth and set the world on fire.”
Associate Dean of the MSB Patricia Grant said the Tropaia ceremonies celebrate students who excelled inside and outside of the classroom.
“Across school contexts, the ceremonies are similar in that they are designed to herald and celebrate graduating seniors for their academic accomplishments and service to the broader community/world,” Grant wrote to The Hoya.
According to Irigoyen, the ceremony enables recognition of the good that has come out of the past four years for students.
“We can’t stop life from being messy nor should we want to,” Irigoyen said. “It’s the messy moments that often give our lives meaning. Over the past four years, many of these moments you and I remember have changed our lives sometimes for the worse but often for the better.”