A fickle forecast and a last-minute decision to move the Commencement ceremony indoors, from Harris House lawn to Elfers Hall, didn't dampen the spirits of Hotchkiss's 172 graduating seniors. The graduation festivities kicked off in the evening on May 31 with the senior recital and awards ceremony, then continued on June 1 with the Baccalaureate Ceremony in the Chapel, where members of the Class of 2018 shared reflections on the lessons they've learned at Hotchkiss. This year, retiring Chaplain and Instructor in Philosophy and Religion Lou Pressman offered seniors some parting wisdom:
"You will have power and privilege disproportionate to your numbers. As you go off from here with your gifts, to whom will you pay attention? Whose potential will you recognize?"
Following the Baccalaureate Ceremony — and a minor delay as the rest of the proceedings were moved inside — seniors and their families gathered in Elfers Hall for Commencement while underclassmen, faculty, and staff watched the ceremony in Walker Auditorium on livestream. Instructor in History Tom Drake, who also serves as director of the Center for Global Understanding and Independent Thinking, gave the commencement address, citing harpsichordist and former Lakeville resident Wanda Landowska as an example of profound dedication to the fullest expression of one's talents. In her recording of Scarlatti's sonata in D major, the sound of explosions and artillery fire can be heard in the background as the Nazis began their invasion of Paris. Unfazed, Landowska played on.
"She went on, with undiminished attention to her craft," Drake said. "It's a pretty daunting example, and while we hope that no such threat challenges the exercise of your talents, we still expect you to exercise them, no matter what intrudes."