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College Confers 314 Degrees at 138th Annual Commencement

Ceremony Celebrates the Student Experience

May 10, 2014

Graduates of WC's athletic training program, Caleb Betz (LEFT) of Stoutsville and Bradley Fuller of Wilmington, shoot a

Graduates of WC's athletic training program, Caleb Betz (LEFT) of Stoutsville and Bradley Fuller of Wilmington, shoot a "selfie" photograph as they prepare to march into Hermann Court for Commencement Saturday morning.

President Jim Reynolds urged the 314 graduates at Wilmington College 138th Commencement Saturday (May 10) to “remember where they came from” as others — friends, family and even relatives generations removed — played a role in their success.

“We all stand on the shoulders of giants and we should honor what they’ve done for us,” he said. “I know your families and your friends have given a lot for you to be here today — they deserve your gratitude and affection.”

The president described how, for him, Commencement is an often bittersweet occasion.

“We are both glad and sad at the same time today,” he said. “We’re glad for your accomplishments and our ability to witness them and sad at the realization that our time together is coming to a close.

“I am thankful for what you’ve given the College during your time here and I speak for all the faculty and staff and say, ‘Thanks for giving us the opportunity to know you and be a small part of your exceptional lives.

“I will miss you but I will rejoice in knowing you will make a difference in the lives of others.”

In presenting the welcome, Class of 2014 member Jacob Spirk said he experienced “four years of growth, knowledge, service and a lifetime of friendships that we will always hold in our hearts.”

(LEFT) Rebekah Muchmore makes her way to the podium for her reflections on her WC experience.

Rebekah Muchmore, the student speaker from the main campus, inserted music into her address. Her message was accentuated with lines from songs — ranging from The Beatles and Michael Jackson to country music and the theme from Friends — that allude to introspection, self-actualization, ambition and friendship.

“The perfect thing about this place is that we are all so different but we mesh so well together,” Muchmore said. “Just like there are different genres of music, the diversity and uniqueness of us represents the entirety of the Class of 2014.”

Gwendoline Finegan, the Cincinnati Branch’s speaker, spoke of coming from a family in which her father and grandfather “considered higher education wasted on women.”

However, she felt differently and Finegan, little by little, took college courses while holding fulltime jobs and rearing a family until today — some 43 years after taking her first college course — she is a college graduate.

“It doesn’t matter that it took me over 40 years to get here,” Finegan said. “What matters is that I embraced what makes me tick. I found new ways to express my thoughts to make a difference and to engage a larger audience.

“It doesn’t matter which items on the bucket list get checked off,” she added. “What matters is the journey of continually investing in what you believe to be true and right.”

NOTE: Graduate Nate Godby gave an inspiring address at the Baccalaureate ceremony. See the YouTube video.