Alumna Reflects on Baccalaureate Ceremony

June 21, 2017

The Baccalaureate Ceremony was held at First Presbyterian Church during commencement weekend at Mary Baldwin University on 5/20/17.
The Baccalaureate Ceremony was held at First Presbyterian Church during commencement weekend at Mary Baldwin University on 5/20/17. Photo by Pat Jarrett.

As a Mary Baldwin alumna and long-time staff member, I have attended my fair share of Commencement ceremonies over the years. Ever since my first Commencement in 1988, Mary Baldwin has held graduation exercises and Baccalaureate together. This year I was interested to experience the two separately and find out what Baccalaureate would be like as its own distinct event. So, with my curiosity piqued, I sat down in First Presbyterian Church on Saturday morning of Commencement weekend and saw it for myself.

I left the event thinking “Wow! What an accomplished group of soon-to-be graduates.” Together with the litany, hymns, honors, and awards, four speakers from the Class of 2017 reflected on the theme “My Moment of Defining Courage at Mary Baldwin.” They looked back on the class theme that united them as freshmen, “Defining Courage,” and how they carried it with them over four or more years of college.

Thinking back to my journey as a student, I related to each one of the speakers when they found their “moment” here, as they talked about some of the challenges and fears they experienced and eventually, with hard work, overcame — changing them into stronger and more resilient people, pushing them to get a higher GPA, and making them realize that whatever roadblocks life throws at you, you can earn your degree and be successful.

It was an eye opener for me: each of these students came to Mary Baldwin on a different path, but they are all leaving on a common path that defines us together as Mary Baldwin alumni.

Anne Holland ’88 is the director of alumni events at MBU.