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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Friedman to Williams Class of 2005: Phone Home

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, June 06, 2005

A face of achievement
View Slide Show
Williamstown – The 504 members of the Williams College Class of 2005 were basted with heat and seasoned with advice during the college’s June 5 216th commencement ceremony.

And two words seemed fitting as diplomas provided acknowledgement of their collegiate endeavors: well done.

Keynote speaker Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize award winner, told the students to “listen to your heart” when making career choices. Friedman also asked the graduates to remember the folks at home and make phone calls to family a priority.

“Your parents love you more than you will ever know,” he said.

Friedman won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for Distinguished Commentary, and in 1983 and 1989 for International reporting. Friedman is the foreign affairs columnist at the New York Times newspaper.


Williams College President Morton O. Schapiro presented master, bachelor, and honorary degrees during the 2005 graduation.
The Class of 2005 should “learn how to learn,” and in doing so, discover the distinction between skepticism: “checking the facts but always being open to another explanation” and cynicism: “already having the answers, or thinking you do,” he said.

Bulgarian native and valedictorian Ivan S. Manolov eloquently described the chaos of a country shedding communism and transitioning to democracy. He urged the graduates to pursue opportunities to “build the world anew.”

Class speaker John Benjamin Cronin of Duxbury, Mass., noted that merit and ability transcend wealth and “blood lines,” and called on the college to seek increased diversity within its student population.

“[Merit] is distributed at random through the whole of humanity, even among those without access to an SAT preparatory class,” Cronin said.

College seniors gathered on shady lawns before the ceremony began.


Cronin also acknowledged the tranquil beauty of the college campus during his speech.

Phi Beta Kappa fraternity speaker Colin D. Bruzewicz of Lebanon, N.H. added brevity to the ceremony with a speech titled “And on a lighter note…,” during which he suggested that if his Williams degree doesn’t generate employment, his hands could catapult him toward success.

“Everyone has told me I have really pretty hands,” he said. “So maybe I can find a job as a model for rings or jewelry.”


Private celebration
Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano led the graduation procession. The High Sheriff of Berkshire County has led the Williams commencement procession since the first ceremony in 1795.The first commencement was held at the Congregational meetinghouse and subsequent ceremonies have occurred at Goodrich Hall [which was sited where Thompson Chapel now sits], the Faculty House and Thompson Chapel. Outdoor sites include the rear of Chapin Hall and Mission Park. The current West College Lawn at the center of the Science Quadrangle is the 11th commencement site.

The event has been abbreviated over the years; the first graduations included speeches from every senior and the ceremonies covered a two-day span. During the first Williams commencement, the four graduating seniors spoke four separate times. For many years, a salutatory address was given in Latin. And the Williams College diploma remains written in Latin.

A smile says it all.


A multi-photograph Williams College Class of 2005 slideshow is posted at www.iberkshires.com.

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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