200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, May 23

The story’s told and swept away.
Same time next year?

By John Wulf ’12

Yesterday afternoon 500 Hamilton seniors received their diplomas. This morning, Butch Legacy cleans up their first alumni donations: forgotten programs and empty paper cups. As the Scott Field House custodian, his primary responsibility is the daily sweep of the field house floor. One Monday in late May each year, that means Commencement cleanup.

Legacy arrives at 6 a.m. and gets started on the chairs. He and other custodians gather them in the back and then start picking up the loose debris. By noon they are all but finished. Yet this job-well-done doesn’t come with the usual sense of satisfaction. “Graduation is a sad, sad day,” Legacy says. “You meet all these students and get to know them, and then they leave, and you may never get to see them again.”

Come this time next year, however, he will experience Commencement from another perspective. As the College celebrates its 200th year, he will be retiring after his 21st on campus. Like the rest of the Class of 2012, he has mixed feelings about life after Hamilton. He is excited to find out where it will take him and eager to receive the special “graduate” cane — the thought brings a big smile to his face — but he is also a little nervous and unsure. He does not know what comes next.

But like most Hamilton graduates throughout the school’s 200-year history, the aptly named Legacy is sure of one thing: “Oh, I’ll definitely keep coming back. I have family and friends here.”

We all do.