Miles C. Collier, Chairman of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees
President Eastman; Dean Harrison; Dean Annarelli; Dr. Harris-Perry; distinguished faculty, families, and guests, and Graduates of the Class of 2014:
Yesterday afternoon, on the recommendation of your faculty, the Board of Trustees granted the awarding of 583 bachelor's degrees to individuals who have earned their place in the Eckerd College community of scholars. No other action that is required of the Board of Trustees brings as much pleasure and reward as the granting of degrees each May. Congratulations, graduates!
I’d like to say a few words about retirement; yes, retirement.
Today, Senior Associate Dean Lena Wilfalk returned from retirement to lead the student procession one more time. You see, Dean Wilfalk retired earlier this year after 43 years of extraordinary service to Eckerd College. In February, the Board of Trustees honored Dean Wilfalk not only because she was instrumental in the creation of the Department of Multicultural Affairs; she fostered the College’s International Student Affairs Program and established the celebrated annual International Festival of Cultures; and she established the College’s first Career Services program; but also because she served as a generous mentor to students and colleagues; and especially because, as a member of Student Life,
Dean Wilfalk demonstrated that the development of your character is as important as the cultivation of your intellect.
In her remarks to the Board, Dean Wilfalk emphasized there has been one constant over her 43 years at Eckerd College that inspired her to remain in service to Eckerd College: the high quality of the College’s faculty, staff, and students. When Eckerd College asked Dean Wilfalk to come out of retirement to assist with graduation one more time, without hesitation she said yes.
Dean Wilfalk exemplifies what we wish for you today:
May you find your calling in an organization that resonates with your philosophy on life, ignites your passions, values you and your contributions, surrounds you with colleagues you respect and who respect you, and makes you want to stay for 43 years or more. And, like Dean Wilfalk, when you leave your organization, leave it far better for the work you have done and for the person you have been. And finally, when your alma mater calls you to service, please say yes.
The members of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees and I wish you well on your journey, which we hope will include frequent stops in this place you have called home.
Congratulations, graduates of the Class of 2014!