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Aerial shot of commencement ceremony

DePauw graduates Class of ’22

The ranks of DePauw alumni grew by 440 Sunday, as the Class of ’22 was graduated during a breezy morning ceremony.

Jon Fortt ’98, an anchor at CNBC and a veteran journalist covering technology, delivered the keynote address, exhorting the graduates to go from Greencastle and, “with love, pursue truth and make an impact. It’s your time.”

Fortt said that, while the graduates were leaving DePauw, “the best of DePauw does not have to leave you.”

Jon Fortt speaking with Christine Bourantas behindThe value of a liberal arts education “has become clearer to me with time,” he said, including “three ideas DePauw planted in me in my time here that have blossomed into uncommon assets in my journey so far.” (Fortt, left, with Walker Cup winner Christina Bourantas listening.)

He urged the graduates to avoid giving in to “a corrosive culture of the moment preaching that everything is a commodity, fungible, a data point, to be traded or leveraged for advantage.” In addition to following the common admonition to “do what you love,” Fortt urged them to “also give of yourself to people you love. Communities you love. Coworkers you love. The country you love. You can’t do this if you’re constantly trying to trade up for your own advantage.”

Fortt also urged the graduates to pursue truth, even if that “can’t mean being right every time. … But it does mean acting in good faith to elevate information that the people around you need to make good decisions.”

His third admonition to the graduates was to “use whatever we have to help other people.

“You didn’t get here — we didn’t get to this moment alone,” he said. “The people and communities we love, the truths they’ve taught us as we’ve pursued knowledge — when we’re at our best, that’s what drives our impact. And that, more than the money, more than the degrees, the ‘success’ — that’s what we’re really after.”

 Christina Bourantas of Wilmington, Delaware, who won the Walker Cup as the senior who contributed the most to DePauw over her four years, offered greetings.

“These past four years have permitted me to grow and flourish alongside all of you,” she said. “I have become a better person because of all of you.”

The university awarded three honorary degrees. Elgan L. Baker Jr. ’71, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of Meridian Psychological Associates, and William F. Carroll Jr. ’73, an executive and consultant in the chemical and plastics industry, were awarded honorary doctor of science degrees. Kelsey Kaufman, a former part-time university studies professor who has dedicated her life to improving the lot of prison inmates, was awarded an honorary doctor of public service degree. 

Graduating seniors Hannah and Holly Buchanan of Rockville, Indiana, who are of Native American descent, read the land acknowledgment.

James Foxworthy, who died March 12, also was graduated posthumously.

A video of the commencement ceremony is available here.


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