WASHINGTON, PA (May 20, 2023)— John S. Reed, former chair of Citigroup and the New York Stock Exchange, inspired the graduates at Washington & Jefferson College’s 2023 commencement, advising them to take charge of their own lives and always to act with integrity.
Mr. Reed, a 1961 graduate of the college, spoke to 220 graduates and their families, as well as faculty, staff, and members of the class of 1973 celebrating their 50th reunion. Reflecting on his own experience, he stressed the importance of finding satisfying career opportunities and advised, “Don’t stay in jobs you dislike.”
President John C. Knapp expressed his pride and belief in the Class of 2023, acknowledging their resilience through the challenges of a global pandemic. He stated, “I am proud to say that these graduates are prepared to make a positive difference in the future by living out W&J’s time-honored commitment to responsible citizenship.”
The 2023 student speaker was Sarah Marshall, a neuroscience major and psychology minor, who described herself as “worried, excited, frightened, proud, amazed . . .at the end of a chapter, the end of what I know.” Addressing her classmates, she continued, “But here’s the thing. I’m starting to catch on that it’s not so bad to write new chapters. Every bit of fear that I have felt from leaving one chapter and going to the next has become an adventure of unknowns and growth.” Marshall previously has made the graduation speeches for sixth-grade and high school commencements.
Both John Reed and Dr. Larry Roper were awarded honorary doctorates during the ceremony. Dr. Roper served as the college’s Baccalaureate speaker on May 19. A professor emeritus and former vice president at Oregon State University, he has helped W&J with initiatives to ensure that the college is welcoming, supportive and inclusive of an increasingly diverse campus population. He urged the graduates to reflect deeply on the value of their college years and to “take time, look around, take in the beauty . . . and recount the ways in which your life has been enriched and transformed by the unique touch of the W&J experience.”
The commencement ceremony also recognized a Staff Member of the Year and Faculty Member of the Year as voted on by the graduating class. Heidi Ryan, College Nurse, and Dr. Jenny Kline, Professor of Mathematics, were selected for the honor. In keeping with W&J’s tradition, Dr. Kline will provide the welcoming address to new students at the Matriculation Ceremony in August.
To see the full commencement ceremony, you can visit washjeff.edu/commencement-may-20-2023.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.