Remarks by Valedictorian Nicholas Vassos '15
Thanking President Stewart
Thank you President Stewart for your kind words and warm welcome.
It is truly an honor to be standing on this stage today, and like many other occasions at Hamilton College I know this is an experience I will never forget.
Class of 2015…Congratulations! Today, our undergraduate days are finally coming to an end. We made it.
I have been waiting to say those words for 4 years, but I feel very differently saying them today than I thought I would back then. My whole life I have been a forward planner—always thinking about tomorrow or about the next task to check off on my to-do list. So if somebody had told me 4 years ago when I first arrived at Hamilton that I could fast forward to graduation, I probably would’ve jumped at the opportunity.
Thankfully, though, that was never an option, and had I fast forwarded through freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year I know I would not be the same person that I am today. These last four years at Hamilton College have positively shaped me in ways I never could’ve imagined, and the skills and attributes I’ve developed on the Hill will stick with me for the rest of my life and career.
More importantly, if I had fast forwarded through the last 4 years, I would’ve missed out on all of the friendships and relationships I have formed with my classmates, with faculty members, and with staff and administrators. I’m sure I can speak for most, if not all, of the graduating class when I say that the relationships we’ve built on the Hill and the moments we have shared with one another are what really matter.
As time goes by we will, without a doubt, slowly begin to forget theories and concepts we learned in our classes. And who knows, maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are definitely some concepts and classes that gave me so much hardship that I would pay to have them removed from my memory.
However, I can almost certainly guarantee that none of us will ever forget that first day we met our new teammates or joined our first club, or that first time we were able to experience the Class and Charter Day festivities on campus, or even this semester when the whole student body seemed to unite to propel Hamilton College to a Wigo Madness Championship. At the end of the day, these moments and similar memories are the most important things that we will take away from our time on the Hill.
Now as we move on to the next stage of our lives, we will enter some unfamiliar territory just as we did when we first matriculated at Hamilton. Most of us came here knowing very few people and were probably very unsure about what the next 4 years would hold, and today most of us probably still have very little idea about what the next 4 years may bring. However, there is one major difference between the uncertainty we face today and the uncertainty we faced 4 years ago. That is, today as Hamilton College graduates, we now have an entire support system and network behind us.
So while it is true that our undergraduate days are coming to an end, remember that our Hamilton College days are just beginning. Remember that the friends we laughed and cried with on the Hill will still be there to laugh and cry with us going forward, even though it may have to be over Skype or FaceTime rather than at Diner B at 3 am. Remember that the faculty and staff we’ve relied upon and who have leant a helping hand will still be there to offer us advice and guidance, even if it may be through e-mail rather than face to face in CJ, KJ, the Science Center or any other academic building. Lastly and most importantly, remember that Hamilton College is somewhere we will always be able to call home, regardless of where our physical home may end up being. Tomorrow we may be leaving the Hill, but Hamilton College will never leave us.
I wish to conclude by once again congratulating the Class of 2015. We have all had our ups and our downs, but being here today is a sign that we have persevered and achieved something great.
We made it.