Tradition: Class of 2018 banner unveiled

With less than 48 hours until their big day, the congratulations and well wishes have begun to flow for the soon-to-be graduates in the Class of 2018, who received their official marching orders this morning.

As part of the long-standing commencement rehearsal tradition, seniors Katie Mullins and Abbey McKee presented the class’s banner to President Rob Huntington.

The class’s banner reads “Our Mountains Are Waiting.” The banner will hang inside the Campus Center for one year, and then it will be archived with all past class banners. On each milestone reunion –five-year, 10-year, and continuing every five until the last member of the class passes away – the banner is brought back out for each reunion celebration. Banners representing the 32 classes with the oldest living alumni are proudly hung from the rafters in Wickham Great Hall.

The Office of Alumni Engagement coordinates the banner-making process, seeking student volunteers to coordinate it. About 10 students were on the committee that proposed designs and slogans which were voted upon by the entire class. Seniors Katie Mullins and Abbey McKee took the lead in seeing the process through, and were given the honor of unveiling the banner for the presentation to President Huntington.

The banner will be at the front of the parade of seniors as they make their way to the commencement venue on Sunday. Weather permitting, the ceremony will be outdoors in Hoernemann Stadium. The rain site is Seiberling Gymnasium.

“Your banner is clean, it is strong and the message is compelling,” President Huntington told the class.

As part of rehearsal this morning, the class received instructions in logistics as well the first of what promises to be many good wishes.

“This really is a big deal,” Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Chris Abrams told the class. “There aren’t a lot of people who get to walk across a stage like this, so you are to be commended.” He encouraged the students to make smart decisions about commencement day, keeping in mind that the day is about them, yes, but also their classmates, family and friends.

“Take it in. Have fun. It’s going to be a great day,” he said.

The students also heard from Ashley Helmstetter, executive director of Alumni Engagement and Major Gifts, who delivered advice and congratulations from alumni and parents. For her own advice, she asked the future alumni to remember three things:

“Your ‘Sweet Alma Home’ is here for you forever. Come back and visit often. … Stay connected. Share your life moments with us. … Give back and pay it forward” by sharing their story with prospective students and giving to The Heidelberg Fund.

Finally, Board of Trustees Chair Kathy Geier, ’78, encouraged the students to celebrate all they’ve accomplished.

“After you leave and time passes, you’ll come back, and you’ll always be welcomed with open arms,” Kathy said. “You’ll feel just like you’re coming home.”

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