Lauren Arthaud '22
Remarks to Graduates-May 22, 2022
Peers, family, friends, faculty, and staff, I am honored to welcome you to the Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2022. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate my classmates on their incredible achievements that helped them make it to this day. Furthermore, I would like to recognize those who have made our advancement through St. Lawrence possible through endless support, dedication, and care on behalf of my class. Thank you to our new President, President Morris, to the Board of Trustees and administration, to our earnest professors, our caring Safety and medical staff, hardworking coaches, the meticulous dining and residential staff, the facilities employees, and to all the support staff that have contributed to our time here at St. Lawrence. Thank you. Please join me in applauding their efforts.
By show of hands, how many of you have either heard of or read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie? So, in his book, author Dale Carnegie contends that there are no neutral interactions. What he means by this is that there are no interactions between people that are simply neutral; you either leave the other better off or worse off, even if it is only slightly. In my time speaking to you today, I would like to tell you some of the ways that the Class of 2022 has impacted St. Lawrence University in a positive way, and in my opinion, how we will be leaving it a better place. I’d like to note that this list is likely not all encompassing, so please recognize the impact of the Class of 2022 go far beyond this list.
In athletics, members of the class of 2022 were league champions in men’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, women’s squash, cross country, and a national champion in horseback riding. We had either league, all-regional or all-American award winners in some combination from our class in nearly every sport. Further, we have multiple record holders.
In terms of student activities, members of the Class of 2022 created clubs and groups such as Women on Wheels, SLU Fitness Club, the Black Laurentian Initiative, and expanded funding and activities in clubs such as club ski and the pre-health club.
In academics, in addition to members of the Class of 2022 receiving various accolades for their work, as well as contributing to a wide variety of independent projects, the passion displayed by students assisted in the creation of public health, data science, biomedical science, digital media & film, and finance majors.
In relationships with others, members of the Class of 2022 were proud to contribute to the culture of St. Lawrence by way of caring for others. This included creating a community to help all feel welcome, being there to listen to a friend when they needed it, supporting professors in their adjustment to online learning, and beyond.
However, I believe the most important impact of St. Lawrence’s Class of 2022 came this year when we took on the role of restoring the culture of St. Lawrence after the pandemic. Being the only class of students at St. Lawrence who had experienced a full and normal year at SLU, it was our job to bring back traditions that would have dissipated without us. These traditions included supporting Saints at athletic events, a candlelit tradition on the quad at the beginning of the year, displaying the importance of a smile when seeing each other in person in places like classes and the student center, and how to enjoy SLU events like Raft Day and Titus.
There will be no other St. Lawrence class that was sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic in their sophomore spring. There will likely be no other class that will get to enjoy the summer semester as a junior, or experience online learning from another destination. Our experience here at St. Lawrence University was entirely unique, entirely our own. Through perseverance, resilience, and adaptability you have earned the cap and gown, the cords, and the diploma you have received.
Within the borders of this University, we grew up together. As we leave the boarders of this University, we can reflect on the mark we made and look forward to the next opportunity to make a positive impact. Class of 2022, whatever your next steps may be, I challenge you to consider the words of Dale Carnegie, that there are no neutral interactions. I hope that this will guide you in your post-St. Lawrence journey, and I am confident that you will continue to leave the people you meet and the places you go better off than when you first came across them.