More than 2,000 students in the class of 2011 crossed the stage on Healy Lawn to receive their diplomas Saturday amid speeches, cheering families and some tearful good-byes.
For many students, commencement was a day to celebrate relationships forged at Georgetown. Jennifer Major (SFS ’11) said her favorite part of the day was watching friends cross the stage and trying her best not to cheer loudly for each one.
“It was a little overwhelming,” she said.
Eleanor Warnock (COL ’11) said that for her, commencement was also an opportunity to meet students and administrators she didn’t interact with much.
“You get to talk to people you don’t really get to normally get to talk to,” she said, adding that she finally introduced herself to people who’ve sat next to her in alphabetical order for the last four years.
Avni Mehta, (SFS ’11), who arrived on Healy Lawn at noon to watch the ceremonies for the College and School of Nursing and Health Studies before participating in her own, agreed.
“You get to interact with people on a different level,” she said. “Everyone looks so perfect.”
One of the graduation speakers, President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla Miranda (GRD ’89), addressed graduates of the School of Foreign Service Saturday, calling on them to be responsible leaders on the global stage.
“This institution has been closely linked to the political life of this country, and of many other countries,” said Chinchilla, who received her master’s degree at Georgetown before returning to politics in her home country and then becoming the first woman elected as president of Costa Rica.
Describing the successes of her country in recent years, Chinchilla said that the values of freedom, solidarity and peace have been at the center of the nation’s growth.
“Our individual survival depends on our loyalty, and our responsibility,” she said.
Mehta said she liked that Chinchilla was able to connect her experiences to the lives of SFS graduates.
“I was pleasantly surprised that she was able to say so much in so little,” Mehta said.
In his remarks to graduates, University President John J. DeGioia echoed Chinchilla’s theme, emphasizing the values and Jesuit heritage that drive education at Georgetown.
“We strive to learn how to do, but also how to be,” he said.
DeGioia said he was hopeful that students would carry these values and experiences with them as they move forward.
“I hope that Georgetown will always be another home to you,” he said.
*Correction:* This article originally stated the name of the School of Nursing and Health Studies as the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.