Even gray skies and rain couldn’t dampen the excitement that filled Ken White Stadium on the morning of May 6. Students, faculty, staff, family, and friends eagerly gathered to celebrate the 322 students receiving their associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees at Reinhardt’s 136th commencement ceremony, umbrellas and ponchos in hand.
“The opportunity to have a ritual like a commencement ceremony is very important,” said Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D., president of Reinhardt University. “It gives us an opportunity to focus, to take a concentrated time to reflect on what we have achieved, in particular, what these students have achieved.”
Delivering the student reflection, Philip Frowis ’22, said that prior to commencement, he had asked his fellow graduates to recall what they thought they wanted to leave behind in this world when they were children and recalling his own childhood dream of digging a cave for all to see. “After being reminded of these childhood dreams, I was struck by the thought of how far each of us has come. We are sitting here at our graduation. We made it. How proud do you think our 6-, 7-, or 8-year-old selves would be seeing us sitting here at our graduation with so many personal and shared legacies we’ve already created?”
Prowis reminded the graduates that no matter their hopes or motivations, they have proven they are able to exceed their childhood dreams. “You have each started a legacy today. Leaving this celebration, we have new goals and expectations about what our lives are going to look like. Like it was with our childhood dreams, it’s not how we imagine our future. It’s about what we cannot even imagine yet, just like our 6-, 7-, or 8- year-old selves who could never have imagined the legacies we’ve already left behind.”
This year’s keynote speaker was DeRetta Rhodes, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief culture officer of the Atlanta Braves. Rhodes spoke to the graduating class about champion mindset. “You all are sitting in a champion moment. What that means is that that you have persevered, you have had tenacity, that there are things that have been painful, and there are things that have been hard. But today, you sit here with a champion mindset.”
‘A champion mindset is making sure that everything you do, you do with excellence and you do it to the best of your ability.” She reminded the students that they have a great opportunity because they “live and sit on a mission of Reinhardt that educates the whole person. I wish each of you all the success that you want, that you require and that you desire.”
Congratulations Class of 2022!