Haley McNeel '12 Student Address
May 20, 2012
Good morning Father Cregan, professors, family, faculty, and the Stonehill College Class of 2012.
Thank you to all who are sharing this exciting day with us.
As we patiently wait to receive our college diplomas, it is natural for us to question what we have accomplished. What have we achieved in the past four years? What experiences have we acquired that have led us to this stage today?
Or we could measure it more quantitatively. How many total hours have you spent in the library, Stanger, or science center? How many total sheets of paper have you printed? How many court parties and how many pastabilities.
Eight semesters, forty classes, 16 mixers and seven days of Cape Week.
Maybe if we were graduating from one of the thousands of other schools around the country, these measurements would be accurate. They would be expected. But for Stonehill graduates, I think the better question to ask is Who.
Who has made your college career? Who is Stonehill to you?
Maybe your Stonehill is your classmates. The people in your major who you have shared a classroom with countless times. Or your peers you traveled with- to China for your Learning Community, a New Orleans HOPE trip, or a familiar face abroad.
Or it is your orientation group- your first connections here at Stonehill. Maybe you don't remember your ridiculous group name, but you definitely remember the security that group gave you as you conquered this campus for the first time.
Or maybe your Stonehill is the nontraditional student- the over thirty mother who reminded you that it is never too late to follow your dreams. Or your fellow student you don't know personally, but for that extra awkward second you hold the door for because that's just what we do around here.
Or maybe Stonehill is your professors: the one professor whose office hours you frequently monopolized; the one you challenge in pick up basketball each week, Or the professor you had to dodge in the cafeteria after skipping their class on a beautiful spring afternoon.
Or its the professor who never let you give up; whether it was a job search, scheduling conflict, or GPA hiccup, retreating was never an option.
Or maybe Stonehill is your support system: your parent who was the immediate phone call after your first job interview; your sibling whose visits were always momentous occasions. Or it is your economic supporter, who never once complained after a phone call of desperation explaining a dwindling bank account balance.
Or maybe Stonehill is your fan base: your family & friends who travelled far and wide to ensure your cheering section was never empty; the cafeteria bakery worker who never missed a home hockey game; or the group of students who drove seventeen hours to Kentucky to cheer you on in the Final Four.
Or maybe your Stonehill is the faculty: the custodial staff who still leaves smiley faces on their notes to your house, even after the most treacherous Monday morning mess. The career service counselor who gave you her personal cell phone number as you juggled your post-grad plans. Or the health center physician whose goodie bag of lozenges and salt packets always made you feel better.
Or it is your team. Your teammates who make dragging yourself out of bed for 6 AM practice a little bit easier. Your coaches who crashed your Boston celebration after your final senior football game. The team of trainers you competed against in the intramural soccer tournament.
Or your honorary teammate, whether it be an overzealous Skyhawk fan, overly involved parent, or an 8 year old hockey fan, but whose excitement in the crowd never failed to boost your morale.
Or maybe Stonehill is your friends. Your people. Your dinner group you procrastinated and occasionally chanted with in the cafeteria. Your house mates you spent hours with doing absolutely nothing, most likely during prime homework hours. Your Thursday night crew and spring weekend t-shirt design team.
Or it's your underclassman friends- who maybe you feel should be graduating beside you right now, but who you are also thankful will be around next year to crash with for alumni weekend.
But most importantly, your friends who stand beside you when the inevitable curveballs of life are thrown your way. Whether it was a broken heart, the loss of a loved one, or even a defeating test grade -but it was your friends who didn't let you stay down for long and who stood beside you until you regained your strength and composure.
Your friends who will continue to do so for years to come. Your future bridesmaids. Your future groomsmen. Or as we were kindly notified on that fateful first day of orientation- maybe even your future spouse.
Years from now we might look back and remember some of the epic moments of our college career: a failed attempt to climb Donahue Hall, a quick dip in O'hara pond, or your final successful attempt at the Stonebridge challenge. But chances are, the majority of our college memories will slowly fade to a dull shade of gray. However, the people we shared it with -THEY will continue to shine brightly in our hearts and minds.
Whether Stonehill is your roommate turned best friend, coach turned confidant, or professor turned mentor, it is most likely a combination of many influential people who have created the past four years for you.
But also, a combination of individuals who have created a foundation for our growth. A springboard of strength to jumpstart our next stage in life. Whether you are headed to New York City, California, India, or South Boston, I am confident that some part of Stonehill is tagging along with you.
Yes, we may have one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and a degree from Stonehill looks pretty stellar on a resume. But it is the people of Stonehill, the WHO of this campus community that keep students happy and that keep alumni digging their roots deep into their alma mater.
The friendships we have created, the connections we have formed, the bonds we have strengthened over the past four years- THAT is what is going to be handed to us today along with that scroll of paper.
I would like to thank all who are present for your never ceasing support over the past four years. And to the Stonehill College Class of 2012- Thank You- and Congratulations.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.