I really do love that word.
Defined broadly as “a beginning or a start,” I am keenly aware that the awarding of Walker’s diplomas during our Commencement ceremony does not mark an end but rather a beginning to the next chapter in the lives of our alumni.
For our Alumni Association, this year’s Commencement marked the tipping point during which Walker welcomed its 2,000th graduate (as well as our 2,001st, 2,002nd and so on).
Like my fellow alumni, I am reminded that my Walker diploma as well as those from my undergraduate and graduate alma maters is a recognition of accomplishment, but it is also a challenge, a charge if you will, to do more — to do better.
An often quoted French phrase, “noblesse oblige,” literally means “nobility obligates.” Taken in more of a figurative sense, the phrase has come to be known to mean, as President Kennedy once wrote, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” A Walker diploma is a physical reminder to all of our alumni that much sacrifice and work led to their ability to receive a world-class college-preparatory education.
Our graduates go on to become doctors, entrepreneurs, attorneys, filmmakers, authors and engineers among a host of other professions. They also go on to become parents and, in the not too distant future, the first of our alumni will likely become grandparents.
As each graduate accepts his or her diploma, crosses the stage, stops at the top of the stairs for their picture and turns their tassel, they continue our proud tradition of sending out into the world well-educated young ladies and gentlemen. From that point, they spread across the globe to campuses near and far to continue their own journeys.
While their paths will vary, the thing that they all have in common in that moment as their friends and family smile with pride and they descend those stairs for the first time as alumni of The Walker School is that instantaneous epiphany in which each says to themselves, “Here we go….”