481 Receive Degrees at DePauw's 164th Annual Commencement

481 Receive Degrees at DePauw's 164th Annual Commencement

May 18, 2003

View Photo Gallery; John McWethy's Commencement Address; Three Receive Honorary Degrees; Order Your 2003 Commencement DVD

May 18, 2003, Greencastle, Ind. - Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "The Power of the Individual" 400KB] "Despite the cynicism of contemporary society, I hope that as you leave DePauw you continue to believe that individuals can still make a difference," DePauw University President Robert G. Bottoms said this afternoon as 481 DePauw seniors were awarded degrees at the University's 164th Annual Commencement on East College lawn. "Today you leave your role as undergraduates in the past. As you prepare to leave, what is that we the faculty and the administration wish for this year's class? Quite simply we wish you joy and success," Dr. Bottoms added.

At the two hour ceremony, which began under mostly cloudy skies and ended with sunshine, the president elaborated, "We wish you joy as you continue to read new books and expand your mind,uncover new ideas and as you meet new friends. We also wish you success, and by success we mean that you find meaning in what you choose to do with your life." 

Bottoms told the Class of 2003 that, "the faculty and staff will watch you with interest. What you choose to do with your lives will tell us how well we have interacted with you."

Senior Nathan Hand, the recipient of the 2003 Walker Cup, which recognizes the senior student judged to have contributed the most to the University during his or her four-year college career (read more here), thanked his professors and family, calling them mentors and role models.

Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Assists" 127KB] "There are certain successes in life that society has deemed worthy of recognition, and being a mentor or a role model is, unfortunately, not one of them," Hand said. "That's what today is for. Yes, this is our day, as graduates. We've worked hard to get here but we haven't gotten here alone. Many people assisted us on this journey -- they're our mentors and role models."

Hand added, "Our experiences at DePauw have also shaped the people that we are today. The Winter Terms, the internships, the clubs and organizations... we've formed solid bonds of friendship, we've learned a lot about ourselves both in and out of the classroom, we've had a multitude of experiences. You put them all together and our class has done some amazing things. Video Link [DOWNLOAD VIDEO: "Remember and Savor" 1211KB]  We've seen a lot in the past four years on campus and in the world and we've done it together, but this is it. This is the end of it. Never again will we all be together like this in one place. We'll have reunions ... people will show up, but there will always be at least one person missing. That circle of friends -- somebody to help you complete those college memories -- never again will all be together in this one place. Savor it, remember it and appreciate it," the senior told his classmates.

DePauw awarded 468 Bachelor of Arts degrees and 13 music degrees, and honored five retiring faculty members: J. Richard Curry, professor of Modern languages (1970-2002); John Dittmer, professor of history (1985-2003); Charles E. Mays, professor of biology (1968-2004); Robert P. Sedlack Sr., professor of English (1964-2003); and Larry G. Sutton, professor of communication arts and ssciences (1963-2003).

As his fellow members of the Class of 2003 prepared to begin life after DePauw, Nathan Hand said, Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "In Conclusion" 159KB] "Enjoy the day. You earned it. Appreciate your mentors -- your friends and family, the people that are DePauw to you -- share it with them, return the favor and be a mentor to somebody else. Help light someone else's path like someone helped light yours."