Senior Class Address
by Julianne McCall '06, President's Medalist
The Denison Confidence: A Unique PassageI am simply honored to be here today. I believe I speak for many- for students, family members, friends, and mentors- when I say, 'this is honestly one of the happiest days of my life.' Today we recognize and celebrate our mutual development, the becoming of confidence which I believe is unique to Denison students, past and present
I am simply honored to be here today. I believe I speak for many- for students, family members, friends, and mentors- when I say, 'this is honestly one of the happiest days of my life.' Today we recognize and celebrate our mutual development, the becoming of confidence which I believe is unique to Denison students, past and present.
As we remember the years passed, I think we all realize we are certainly not the same people today that we were when taking our first steps on campus. Our only connection then was that we all somehow chose Denison. As we settled into our dorm life and began forming our life-long friendships, we eventually became comfortable and made this our home. We began contributing to organizations and participating in discussions with our professors and advisors, quickly finding our niche and voice in the Denison community. In addition to our class work and extracurriculars, we have enjoyed the music and works of world-class artists and have been further inspired by Pulitzer-Prize winners and esteemed humanitarians. Broadening our experiences and exposing ourselves to new ways of thinking allowed us to reshape the framework of our viewpoint from that which we had formed as children growing up with our families. Our perspective of the world has been gradually expanding since that first day.
While our hearts are at this moment full of good memories of celebrations, athletic titles, and community service successes, we remember that we have also been shaped by the struggles we've endured over the years. Some of us have lost a dear grandparent or for the first time realized the magnitude of desolation in parts of the world and labored to reason with its existence. We have all been exposed to and thought about various challenges and how we might use our lives to help solve some significant issue, like global warming, the need for a better education system, or the AIDS crisis. We have also discovered what we are good at and, perhaps more importantly, where and how we might improve. At Denison, we have all been granted a unique opportunity to learn from each other in a safe and supportive environment. In our class alone, there are twenty-five countries represented as well as forty of our United States. What we learned from each other far outweighs what we could have taken simply from books, in terms of our open-mindedness and personal integrity.
By spending our time on this campus, we invested our futures in the promise of the Denison experience, which may seem like it is ending today, but is only just beginning. Inside, we have quietly developed what I call the "Denison confidence"- that immeasurable drive that can be witnessed when a student approaches and shakes the hand of a national leader after a convocation in Swasey or when a student proudly presents their research for the first time at a professional conference. This "Denison confidence" is a symbol of our unique passage to intellectual maturity.
Denison has provided the tools which we will soon find critical in a global world of innovation and collaboration. We are the hope for our environment's preservation, for the advancement and accessibility of medical applications, and for our government's stability and effectiveness. Whether we are heading to graduate school, directly into the workforce, or have chosen to spend time traveling in order to find inspiration, we will all soon discover that Denison has been much more than the dorms, classes, and special events -- Denison became our foundation for the exciting journey ahead. We learned not only the postulates of genetics and the theories of government, but a way of thinking, or an intellectual attitude, that we will use to challenge concepts, to look at different viewpoints, and then to affect change in an ever-evolving society through intelligence, determination, and leadership.
In essence, we have all learned from each other- I think we would all agree that there was no better place for that. From now on, however, Denison will be not only a place, but more importantly a circle of people. We will soon be official members of the Denison alumni network, ready to help and connect with others. How you will use your cultivated 'Denison confidence' will distinguish you among the occupational and academic masses, just as our alumni have already done. Whether you imagine yourself an eagle soaring over mountain peaks, or perhaps a buzzard over our own college on the hill, you will always have your Denison experience, which academically and physically, placed you atop higher ground.
Class of 2006, we are all departing this home with a wealth of experiences that will allow us to pursue any career, any success. It is my hope that each of us finds that opportunity which challenges and inspires us so that we may each make a significant contribution. I believe our unique class has the potential to reach the greatest of heights, especially if we apply our 'Denison confidence' in every aspect of our lives. It has been a tremendous pleasure, and I cannot wait to hear about all the good that you will do in the years to come. Best of luck to each of you! Thank you.