COLUMBIA - The second half of the Lindsey Wilson College Class of 2013 was told Saturday, May 11 that the rest of their lives “is nothing but electives.”
“You can elect how you spend the rest of your life,” said outgoing LWC Vice President for Administration and Finance Roger Drake. “You can elect to spend your life in the service of others. You can elect to spend your life seeking monetary gain. You can elect to spend it seeking fame. But you will spend it - time will march on - and you need to understand now that it is all an elective.”
The liberal arts college awarded 226 graduate and undergraduate degrees at its spring ceremony, LWC’s 97th overall commencement ceremony, before an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people in Biggers Sports Center.
Combined with the 381 degrees awarded in December at winter commencement, this school year’s 607 degrees make the Class of 2013 the largest in LWC’s 110-year history. The spring graduates also included LWC’s first baccalaureate nursing graduates, as 16 students received a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
To put the size of this year’s graduating class in perspective, LWC awarded a total of 445 degrees in 2011-12, and a decade ago it awarded 151 degrees.
Drake noted that this year’s LWC graduates have “seen a tremendous amount of change at this college.”
The students were on the tail end of a five-year, $39.6 million capital campaign that included two new science classroom buildings, two residence halls, a 20-acre sports park, and a health-and-wellness center.
“You were here during much of this construction and it probably seemed to you as if these buildings just sprung up out of the ground,” Drake said. “Well, they didn’t. This investment in your college experience, and in your future, was made possible by the generous gifts of students that came before you - students whose lives were touched and enhanced by this special place.
“In many cases, these buildings were made possible by the generosity of folks that never attended here — but they heard about your stories - they heard about your challenges. They heard that all of you came here to learn, and grow so that you can make a difference in the world. These special people whose names you see on these beautiful buildings didn’t only make large gifts - they made significant investments in your futures.”
Drake, who is president-elect of Central Methodist (Mo.) University, received an honorary doctorate from the college. Also receiving an honorary doctorate was Carol Marra of Louisville, a longtime educator and 26-year member of the LWC Board of Trustees.