Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

May 2, 2011

On to the next stage

Speaker tells GC students to 'go with courage'

GOSHEN — Waiting on campus for the soon-to-be graduates to walk from the student union to the recreation center, Goshen College faculty member Richard Aguirre took stock of the sunshine and spring breeze.

“This is the first time in a few years the weather has been nice enough to make this processional,” he said.

Weather was likely the last thing on the minds of the students who went through the GC graduation ceremony Sunday. Largely attired in traditional caps and gowns, they made their way to the gym, where they were handed diplomas and heard a commencement speech.

Then it was on to the rest of their lives.

The commencement address was given by 1969 Goshen College graduate and human rights activist Marjory Byler. Byler ended her speech by telling the Class of 2011 to “go with courage.”

‘A lot of hard work’

Rosanna Kauffmann graduated from GC Sunday with a degree in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies as well as a minor in history. She is moving onto the next chapter in her life — “the real world” — after receiving her diploma.

Waiting in line prior to the processional, Kauffman explained that Sunday marked the culmination of four years of effort.

“It’s just a nice climax because we have all been doing a lot of hard work,” Kauffmann said of the students in the student union.

Kauffmann’s mother Cynthia, also a GC graduate, said that even though she went through the same commencement at the same college, it’s a much different feeling watching her oldest child graduate.

“It’s been emotional, but really rewarding to watch her prepare for graduation,” Cynthia said.

A Goshen native, Kauffmann has had the opportunity to do some travelling abroad through the study-service team (SST) program at Goshen, when she went to Senegal. She said that experience was definitely a bit of a transition after being accustomed to having immediate family so close for so long.

“It’s nice to have the support of your family members,” she said.

Kauffmann mentioned that Saturday night — following a rehearsal that her mother described as “teary” — the Senior Class Program at Sauder Concert Hall provided a welcome opportunity for her and her friends to get together in this environment one final time.

Cynthia said that while the separation that comes following graduation has been a bit scary for Kauffmann, she feels that her daughter is prepared for life after college. While Kauffmann is not sure exactly what she will do with her degree, she did say that she wants to do some service work post-graduation.

“Part of me just wants to stay in one place, but I know that whatever’s next will be exciting,” Kauffmann said.

In her commencement address, Byler had something to say about “whatever’s next.”

“Uncharted waters and open spaces await you — that is the awesome promise of new beginnings,” she said. “Take your joy and your passion, your faith and your dreams, and shine your light through the cracks into the darkness. No matter what you do and no matter where you are, your sheer presence holds promise.

“The world is and will continue to be blessed by your passage through it.”

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