Class of 2016 Gathers for Senior Class Luncheon, Their First Official Event as Wellesley Alumnae

May 26, 2016
Class of 2016 Gathers for Senior Class Luncheon

The Class of 2016 came together yesterday for the Senior Class Luncheon, their first official event as alumnae, and a celebration of their journey and entry into the next phase of their Wellesley experience. As Susan Cohen, dean of the class of 2016, would tell the students during her speech, "No one's story really started with orientation and no one's story really ends with graduation. After all, Friday's ceremony isn't called 'conclusion.'"

Georgia Johnson '75, president of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association welcomed the students and introduced special guests Laura Gates '72, chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, Diamond Sharp '11, young alumnae trustee and Missy Shea '89, executive director of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.

"You are now a stitch in the quilt of the best alumnae network in the world," Sharp told the graduates during brief remarks.

Following Sharp's speech, Wellesley Fund representative and senior gift committee members Margaret Christie '16 and Soo Jin So '16 delivered the senior gift. Christie remarked, "Each of us has benefitted from the generosity of those who have come before us; now, it is our turn to pay it forward." So said, "Today, our Senior Class Gift is the start. We are creating a lasting legacy of support and connections that will grow alongside us as we progress in our lives." The 481 members of the class donated $19,464 with an 87 percent participation rate.

Bottomly thanked the seniors. "I am grateful for your generosity—and I am especially grateful for your participation, which is a concrete sign of your belief in Wellesley," she said.

Following the presentation of the class gift, Bottomly invited Ari Rodriguez '16, winner of this year's hooprolling contest, to come to the stage and add her name to a hoop kept by the Alumnae Association which bears the names of past winners. After the signing, senior class presidents Grace Park '16 and Delia Arias De Leon '16 joined the stage, asking Bottomly to stay, and then presented her with gifts and named her an honorary member of their graduating class.

Park and De Leon then addressed their classmates, introducing their Alumnae Class President Shweta Patwardhan '16. WCAA Executive Director Missy Shea '89 presented Patwardhan with the class gavel. Patwardhan called to order the first alumnae class meeting and introduced the alumnae class officers: Vice President Apoorva Arora '16, Secretary Houda Khaled '16, Treasurer Ann Martel '16 and Wellesley Fund Representative Sierra Luther '16. As a first order of business, the class ratified their alumnae constitution.

Following the close of class business, Johnson invited Cohen and the class' chosen faculty speaker, Michael Jeffries, associate professor of American studies, to speak. Jeffries spoke of his hopes for the students and described his own experience of walking across the stage to receive his diploma, sharing that he had spotted his family and spontaneously, joyfully raised his diploma toward them. He said, "I hope that you will be shaken by your joy on Friday."

After Jeffries' speech, and brief remarks by Shea, Johnson invited the class to stand and officially inducted them into the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. "May your dedication to our alma mater, her mission, alumnae, students, faculty, and staff never waiver. May you find lifelong inspiration as a member of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association," she said.

To conclude the luncheon, class song mistress Claire Verbeck '16 led the class in the signing of the alma mater and a final class cheer, then she dismissed the seniors to Severance Green to prepare for Friday.