Ceremony of Lights 2005
Ceremony of Lights 2009

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The Reverend Mona Bagasao
August 7, 2009

50 years of Eckerd past behind us. Who knows how many years in the future?

The end of a particular kind of relationship you'll have with your family. The beginning of your relationship with the Eckerd community.

Seems like we're always on a cusp, or maybe even an apex of history here at Eckerd College.

Tonight, new students, you are on a significant cusp. Tonight, your first, and we hope only Ceremony of Lights, is the very last Ceremony of Lights for the man who more than anyone else here has made Eckerd College the college to which you wanted to come. Dean Lloyd Chapin will never welcome another class as he has welcomed you and the 30 classes before you. No other new students will tremble when they walk into a room and he's the only other person there and they don't know what to say. No other class will know what it is to share this campus with a man of such vision and such integrity.

So, in recognition of Dean Chapin and of each of you, my charge to you tonight is to be grateful. Be grateful for your brief time at Eckerd with Dean Chapin. Be grateful for the parents and families that have brought you this far. Be grateful to the God of creation for putting this little spot of land down here so you could go to a college with its own beach and waterfront. Be grateful for the admissions team for saying yes to you, for financial aid for saying whatever it is they say, for all the effort and time that have been given by the staff and faculty, from housekeeper and gardener to the President of this school to prepare for your being here.

Be grateful. Say thanks to everyone who does any small thing for you.

Be grateful that you didn't get that other guy for your roommate.

Be grateful that your mom loves you enough to cry every time she looks at you this weekend.

Be grateful that you have been given the opportunity imagine, to dream, to learn to learn to keep on learning, the opportunity to become what you long and ache to be.

We who are already part of this community are grateful that you are part of it now, too.

We go together in gratitude, blessed by the God who loves and holds us even when we are not grateful.

Eckerd College Eckerd College's 50th Anniversary
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