Few moments in your life will be as emotional as your college graduation. The culmination of four years of hard work and personal growth, it’s also a new beginning full of excitement and uncertainty. As we get ready for Sweet Briar College’s 109th Commencement tomorrow, here’s a look at some of our favorite moments and snapshots from the last few years. Get your tissues ready!
Commencement Speech 2015: “We Will Persevere.”
The Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson ’87, mayor of Columbus, Ga., chairwoman of the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors
Tomlinson’s legendary 2015 speech inspired not only Sweet Briar graduates — it fueled and mobilized an entire army of alumnae, students, faculty, staff and friends. At a time when it seemed like the College might be closing, it was a battle cry like no other. In the end, Saving Sweet Briar persevered in court, thanks to unprecedented fundraising efforts and an ingenious social media campaign amplified by thousands of alumnae. You can relive Sweet Briar’s 106th Commencement here.
“The world is hungry for you. Confident thinkers. Problem solvers. Solution makers. If you were in the halls of Congress, this world would be a better, more functional place.”
No two Sweet Briar students are alike, and we have an entire collection of graduation caps to prove it. Many of our recent classes have decorated their hat toppers to celebrate the big day and show the world where they’re going next. We can’t wait to see what the Class of 2018 has in store!
Commencement Speech 2016: “Now, We Are All Founders.”
Leah Busque ’01, founder and executive Chairwoman of TaskRabbit, Sweet Briar College Board of Directors member
One year after the College’s near-closure, Busque greeted the Class of 2016 with a powerful message of confidence: They were all founders now. The story of rebuilding their College would stay with them for the rest of their lives, she added, forever defining what they could accomplish:
“We have earned the right to crown ourselves with a new title, a new identity, a new piece of our being that we may not have even known was inside us. Now, we are all founders. The faculty, staff, administration, alums, parents, community … and especially this historic Class of 2016: We are all founders now. … As a founder now, you can have a real impact on the world. Never worry if you are good enough to do something — know you are, and always act like it. Embrace that confidence that Sweet Briar has instilled in you.”
She also encouraged them to have “B-HAGs” — Big Hairy Audacious Goals:
“You may feel compelled to keep this beast hidden in your closet; you may not even dare to whisper the crazy ambitions of this outrageous animal. But if it makes you uncomfortable, you’re on the right track. If people think you’re crazy, unrealistic, or too ambitious, that’s when you know you are aiming high enough.”
Fierce Graduation Shoes
While the College’s commencement guidelines call for dark (and traditionally, closed) shoes to match one’s robe, it’s not a strictly enforced rule. In fact, chances are you’ll see a colorful assortment of sandals, heels, sneakers and cowboy boots tomorrow! Sweet Briar women do what they want, and they do it in style.