Marlboro College

News Senior Address: Ryan Dolan

ryan dolan

Before I begin, I would like to mention that this speech and this moment is dedicated to Ryan Larsen. He entered with us as a freshman, and he passed away tragically near the end of our rst year. Many of us knew him well, and his death hit us all hard. We miss him today, the day when he would have graduated, and we would like to dedicate this speech to his memory, as well as to the memory of another student, Andy Zuckerman.

We've worked towards these accomplishments, these personal and intellectual achievements. And we're done, for the first time in years. But when we leave, we won't miss these projects, we'll miss the people in this room. We are not losing our ability to write nor to think; today we are losing one another.

These past weeks, I've truly come to know people here, for what seems
like the first time. I've discovered that we do know one another here,
but we have also come to know the worst parts of one another. We have
strived to move away from bigotry and violence, but sometimes we find
ourselves in the midst of it. We have attempted inclusiveness, but we
have continued to hurt one another in our relationships each day.

After my orals, I was proud that I could give men a friendly kiss on the
cheek, and that no one gave it a second thought. But I'm ashamed to
know that women still feel objectified on this campus, and people of
di fferent races or ethnicities still feel pushed aside and unwelcome. And
people's religious and political beliefs can still be cast aside simply when
people refuse to consider that people who think di fferently could be in
the room.

We make a choice with each action we make, regardless of how conscious
we may be. And even with no mean intention, we often harm other
people. This is a community that can bring out this tendency in all of
us, in our pettiness and jealousy, and in our lack of consideration and
or lack of respect for others. Each of these actions, that off ends people,
that marginalizes them or degrades them, even hurts them emotionally,
each of these minute actions becomes as a stone, that we have picked
o ff the ground, and which we throw at another person without a second
thought.

But in my life, each mean action, by myself or by another, has created room
for another person's compassion and kindness to come out. Here at this
campus, any anger or bitterness has often been filled by a friend's love,
and any wound has been healed by a friend's desire to help.

In these past few weeks, through my sadness, depression and personal ex-
haustion, I have found the strength of this community and the strength
and kindness of the people here, especially my friends. In my anger and
resentment, I have found Marlboro's community more loving and kind
than I could have hoped for. Our personal problems often make room
for our communal strength.

So during our final hour together, our final departure, as we face sadness and
excitement together, our love and our friendship become all-the-more
important, all-the-more genuine, and therefore all-the-more dicult to
lose.

I love you all, and I love Marlboro College, because here, we cannot shy away
from one another, and the sadness and kindness and joy of humanity
becomes all the more obvious each day through one another. However
much we have gained in our intellectual lives here, this growth cannot
compare to the love I've found amongst all of you, and that we have
found with one another.

We have become friends, the best of friends, and we leave this place with
the knowledge that it is one another that we leave behind today. The
loss of these friendships could not leave me more sad, but at the same
time, more happy to have known all of you. I could not ask for a better
group of people to have graduated with today, nor to have attended this
inspiring, sad but beautiful place with.

My hope is that we can get beyond the darker side of our natures, however
unintentional or harmful our mean actions may be, and continue to
attempt inclusiveness and thoughtfulness for others. If so, we do not
leave one another's side today, but continue in the common purpose of
living a kind, considerate life. If we continue attempting, each day, then
we live and learn together still, no matter how far apart.

 

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