On a beautiful, clear and warm May day, Pitzer
College held its forty-third commencement, and at the
ceremony’s conclusion we bid a fond farewell to the
wonderfully accomplished Class of 2007. Their time spent at Pitzer was marked by momentous happenings, both for the College as well those occurring in a more global context.
This class attended College during a time when the United States has been a nation at war. Natural disasters such as the tsunami that affected coastal communities across Southeast Asia, as well as events closer to home, including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as well as the Calfornia wildfires that struck in the fall of 2003, have all occurred during the past four years. Higher education also was indelibly affected by the horrific tragedy this spring at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In the midst of these events, Pitzer students came together and took action by visiting affected places, protesting, and sending messages of hope and encouragement.
In their time spent here, Pitzer students have traveled the globe studying the world in all its beauty and conflict. They worked with Americans in New Orleans displaced by Hurricane Katrina, taught children to read in our Jumpstart program, contributed to community partnerships in Ontario and Pomona, and designed new environmentally sustainable residence halls. Students participated in Student Senate, worked with incarcerated youths at Camp Afflerbaugh-Paige, and were deeply involved with the Pomona Day-Labor Center.
As part of the Class of 2007’s legacy, they will leave behind beautiful cactus
gardens that they designed and planted as well as murals and other forms of public art. Our student athletes also distinguished themselves in athletics winning twelve SCIAC championships in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s soccer, tennis, and water polo.
In addition to their engagement with the critical issues that face our world, the Class of 2007 is remarkable for its academic accomplishments. Among our graduating seniors we have a Watson Fellowship winner, a Truman Fellowship winner, Kemper Foundation Scholars, and a USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Service Award honoree. For the past four years Pitzer College has been, per capita, number one for Fulbright Fellowships awarded to colleges and universities in the United States and this year out of twenty-four Fulbright finalists, eight have already been awarded, with six alternates.
For the first time at commencement, three seniors were selected as speakers, Lakshmi Eassey, Sergio Donis and Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, who powerfully addressed the audience and their class: “We cannot allow the differences among us to prevent us from finding common ground. The great thing about being a student here is that difference does not equal division. People come to Pitzer with different ethnic, gender, socio-economic and family backgrounds, but it is in such diversity that the Pitzer education is forged.”
My hope for the Class of 2007 is that they never become inured to the injustices and tragedies of their generation and that they never lose their appreciation for all the beauty and hope that surrounds them. Pitzer’s motto is Provida Futuri— Mindful of the Future—and I trust this class will mind our collective futures well.
Laura Skandera Trombley
President, Pitzer College