Marlboro College



President Paul LeBlanc's address              

I have presided over six commencement ceremonies and this one will be the last before I, like our graduates today, move onto my next set of challenges. The fact that I'll be leaving this beautiful, often bucolic setting has helped me understand in a much more visceral and heartfelt way the conflicting emotions of our seniors as they prepare to leave Marlboro. Even with all of the busy-ness that attends the end of the academic year, I have found myself lingering to take in views I have thoughtlessly passed by so many times. I find myself in conversations with people and some part of my brain is fixing them in my memory, stepping back to appreciate who they are, even as we conduct whatever business is at hand.

I now know why alumni so often want to freeze the place. Coming back here and discovering change is a little like coming home after college graduation to find your parents have turned your bedroom into a den and didn't tell you (this might happen to some of you). You understand intellectually, but your heart wants to preserve a place you've come to love even as you complained about it. And like adolescents making the break from home, you and I have probably complained about Marlboro more than ever in these past weeks because it makes saying good-bye to all that is good about Marlboro easier to take.

And there is so much that is so good. At the top of the list are the people and if I were to start listing this would feel like an Academy Awards acceptance speech. (Not that YOU went on too long Jessica...). So what I will do instead is list the most important people in the room today, the graduates. They are Marlboro at its best.

I will read their names, a brief description of their Plans of Concentration, and their sponsor and outside evaluator. As they cross the stage to accept their degrees, I would urge you to applaud, shout, and snap as any pictures as humanly possible. They've worked hard and they've earned all the honors.

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