E.O. Smith graduates 258

E.O. Smith graduates 258

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer

With Jorgensen undergoing renovations, this year’s E.O. Smith graduation was moved to UConn’s basketball mecca, Gampel Pavilion. 258 seniors, decked out in variations of black and red, filed through the airy arena to collect their diplomas on June 18. Included in the graduating class were Amber Allard and Amber McWilliams, the first two students ever to graduate from Smith’s alternative Depot Campus setting.

Traditionally, Smith doesn’t recognize a valedictorian or salutatorian at its graduation, but students who did speak included class Vice President Elizabeth Moynihan, Treasurer Julie Callahan and Secretary Jessie Hehrhoff. Another senior, Ha Young Kim, introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Lee Hartwell.

Hartwell, whose granddaughter Sadie is a member of the graduating class, is the president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He delivered a unique address, eschewing clichés in favor of a realistic reminder of the world facing the graduates. Hartwell spoke of grinding poverty, disappearing species, and an island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of the state of Texas. But he also spoke of empathetic and driven innovators who have worked to find solutions for some of these problems. “I hope you realize that the world you’re entering has huge problems,” said Hartwell. “But the human imagination is the tool we have to fight them.” Hartwell opened and closed with a quote from poet Mary Oliver: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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