Shimer Celebrates 2010 Commencement
photos and article by Jonathan Timm
On Saturday, May 8th, Shimer College celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2010. The day was a celebration of the end of a journey that was their undergraduate careers, but the beginning of another great journey.
Dr. Edward "Rocky" Kolb delivered the keynote address after welcomes by interim President Ed Noonan and Board of Trustees Vice-Chairwoman Sally Brown. Rocky is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He is also a member of the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Rocky's research deals with the application of fundamental physics to the very early universe.
Two highlights of the ceremony were the addresses by graduates Heath Iverson and Raya Carr who spoke -- and in one case, danced -- to express their gratitude for their Shimer experience and the Shimer community.
Citing examples from the Shimer curriculum, Raya discussed the many ways that Shimer has altered her outlook on specific issues. She explained that she arrived at Shimer with many beliefs taken for granted, but it didn't take long for her to fundamentally rethink her views. "For the first time in my life," Raya said, "I was in a community in which I felt I could be honest and I could be heard." In this environment, Raya was able to reexamine significant issues like religion, "replacing both uncertainties and certainties with extreme flexibility and happiness." Most memorable was Raya's surprise dance. As her speech came to a close, Raya stated that at Shimer, she doesn't always see "enlightenment, but play." To elaborate, she offered, rather than more words, a dance. After the applause that followed her speech, Raya revealed the dance outfit under her robe and did an impressive tap routine followed by a well-deserved standing ovation. Listen to Raya's speech and see her dance.
Finding himself having to follow a dance routine, Heath Iverson took a more traditional, but no less impactful, approach. Heath expressed the ways that Shimer had helped him grow by talking about Plato's Republic. Like Socrates, Heath believes that he can best understand Shimer's effect on its citizens by understanding the characteristics that define Shimer as a polis. Heath sees a similarity between Plato's eternal forms and the nature of Shimer. No matter the tumultuous changes that Shimer has always undergone, Heath said, "the idea of Shimer seems to transcend any one place or period." Shimer, Heath said, persists. "And it is this unshakable persistence which gives me hope that if anyone is ever to inquire after the content my character," Heath proclaimed, "they might follow the method of Socrates, and look not to me, but to this city of doers, this city of readers and speakers, this city of poets, the Republic of Shimer College, of which I am so proud to count myself a citizen." Listen to Heath's speech
After the rousing student speakers, Dean David Shiner addressed the graduates and recognized academic award recipients. Listen to David's speech
. Afterward, David and President Noonan presented degrees to the twelve graduates. Click here
to see a list of graduates, with their degree, honors, and thesis title.