Graduation brings formal pomp and circumstance to WPI’s graduating students, but the stories and reminiscing in this Friday’s Baccalaureate ceremony reminds them of just how far they have come before they launch into the wider world.
“Baccalaureate is geared toward the graduating class and is a fun reflection on graduation as we move forward,” says Adam Moreschi, a graduating management engineering major and co-chair of the Baccalaureate Committee. “It’s a celebration through speakers, performances, and reflections of our times at WPI.”
Traditionally a senior-planned program, Baccalaureate is Friday, May 16, at 5:30pm in Alden Memorial. The evening’s program includes music provided by members of WPI’s Brass Ensemble, inspirational words from keynote speaker Jeremy Hitchcock ’04 (CEO of Dyn, a global leader of Internet performance solutions), prayers by local chaplains, and student speakers and performers.
The all-student Baccalaureate Committee chooses the speakers and performers (including the student speaker for Commencement) to give voice to the Class of 2014. The students’ words and expressions highlight the unique ties that bind only their class.
“Baccalaureate is a beautiful program,” says Jim McLaughlin, “and a reflection on the students’ experiences as WPI students.” This year brings some unique changes, he says, with a first-ever modern dance performance.
Moreschi says the committee chose the speakers and performers with a specific intent. “The goal for this year was to make sure the voices of those representing us were true to how they felt and that they are expressing the common feelings of our class,” he says.
Baccalaureate in Alden Hall, 2013
Baccalaureate will touch on three areas in which students have especially grown since arriving on the WPI campus, Moreschi says. Academically, students have learned to use WPI’s resources to help shape the beginnings of their careers and a base to learn and thrive. “WPI has given us a foundation to make an impact in the world,” he says. Personally, students have found causes they believe in and ways to pursue those passions. Professionally, he says, the projects and expected work quality and output gives the students the base for becoming excellent leaders.
“WPI defines success as not just being great, but also how well-rounded you are,” says Moreschi. Hitchcock exemplifies the personal, professional, and community leadership qualities WPI students strive for—in addition to his firsthand knowledge of WPI, his young age, personal achievements, and professional success resonates.
Two student speakers will share their reflections of their years at WPI; performances include two music and one dance performance.
Megan Forti says her reflection, “Ninth Year Senior,” talks about how she grew up with and at WPI. With an older brother at WPI, Forti says the university ended up being an excellent fit for her, too. “I realize how much I love WPI and how much WPI became a part of me,” she says. Proud of her university and grateful for the camaraderie her classmates gave her, Forti says there’s just something special about WPI. “There’s a community we have here that you won’t find at other schools.”
Brianna Gillespie’s reflections play on her last-minute speech submission (done at the nudging of her trustee mentor) and how her first moments on campus set the stage for her last minutes at WPI. “It’s important to realize it won’t be easy starting a job or grad school,” she says. “But what you do in the beginning is so important to how you are in the end. These four years flew by faster than I ever thought they would.”
Baccalaureate planning begins a year in advance. “We are focusing on every part of the program so that it is truly enjoyable,” says Moreschi. “We wanted to know what people care about and to make this night as enjoyable as possible. We wanted all the different personalities in our class coming together under one roof in a special way.”
A reception on the back patio of the Rubin Campus Center immediately follows Baccalaureate and includes a cash bar, appetizers, and the soft strains of jazz.
BY JULIA QUINN-SZCESUIL