On Sunday, May 27, 2018, nearly 700 St. Olaf College seniors walked across a stage set in front of Mellby Hall to receive diplomas and enter the world as graduates.
Despite a blazing sun and soaring temperatures, family and friends of the Class of 2018 filled the campus lawn to celebrate their graduate.
In his charge to the graduating class, President David R. Anderson ’74 focused on one phrase: “Oles Can. Oles Will.” He noted that the graduating class included 12 triple-majors and 215 double-majors. The Class of 2018 graduated with an average 3.42 GPA and was one of the most traveled graduating classes, with 75 percent studying abroad or off campus.
“The whole point of going to college isn’t to ‘go to college,’ rather the purpose is to prepare yourself for a productive, fulfilling, and useful life,” Anderson noted. “Ask anyone that knows an Ole. You’ll hear that not just the graduates of the college ‘can,’ but that they ‘will.'”
The Class of 2018 senior commencement address was delivered by Maggie Chen, an American studies major from Beijing, China. “As someone who is going to be one of the youngest Ole alumni, I can’t wait to tell everyone how St. Olaf has given me the most incredible and transformative four years of my life,” she told her fellow graduates. Her speech focused on the word “transformative,” and pointed to a story that helped her transform from an English language learner, to a qualified K-12 English as a Second Language teacher. She will pursue a master’s of education degree at the University of Minnesota in the fall.
After the Class of 2018 received their diplomas, Anderson asked all those graduating with cum laude honors and the St. Olaf international students, representing 36 countries, to stand and be recognized. Anderson also recognized the retiring faculty members.
As is tradition, graduates closed the commencement ceremony by singing Fram! Fram! St. Olaf and Um! Yah! Yah! Then, of course, they threw their mortarboards.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018!