Lauryn Falcone’s Commencement Remarks

Lauryn Falcone ’13 was one of four valedictorians for Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

The following is a transcript of Lauryn Falcone’s valedictory remarks to graduates during the Arts & Sciences and College of Professional Studies 2013 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 12.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook) This past year, for the first time in my college career, I dreaded the approach of finals—not because of the exams I had to take but because of the realization that it was finally time to say goodbye to the place I had called home for so many years.

Our experience at Rollins has truly been a gift, for at no other college would we receive such an excellent education coupled with the opportunity to pursue our passions to their fullest.  Rollins has offered us the unique opportunity to choose to excel in anything from athletics, art, and music to community service or Greek life.  At no other institution can students enjoy warm and sunny weather all year round, have the opportunity to spend Saturday mornings at the local farmers market, relax for a weekend at the pool, and go sailing or boating on our very own Lake Virginia.  Few will forget Sunday’s bagel bar, movie nights on Mills lawn, or our beloved and much anticipated Fox Day tradition.

The sadness I felt as graduation neared was in part due to the realization that all of these amazing experiences have finally come to an end.  But even more than that, it is hard to part with all of the professors, staff, and students who make the Rollins community so great.  The professors at Rollins have been some of the best teachers I ever had, and the friendships we have all made will last a lifetime.  Despite the sadness that our college careers have come to an end, the memories we have gained, the knowledge we have learned, and the relationships we have built will remain with us forever. 

To the Class of 2013, I urge you all to remember how you got to this point in your lives.  Each of us had our own obstacles to overcome and ultimately chose different paths of study, yet we all share one commonality: None of us got to where we are now on our own.  As John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island.”  I personally would like to thank my family, including my mother who is unable to be here today. To our dedicated professors, mentors, and families who made it possible for us to succeed, thank you.  We are here today only because of your encouragement and assistance.  I therefore want to congratulate not only the Class of 2013 but also everyone in our lives who made this magnificent achievement possible. 

Today, the Class of 2013 graduates may all look the same in cap and gown, but behind the façade lays a diverse group of individuals.  Some of us will go on to become prominent healthcare specialists, lawyers, and business professionals while others may further pursue their passions in art and music, or volunteer and travel all over the world.  I cannot predict where each of our lives may lead us, but I am excited to see the amazing feats this young group of individuals will accomplish in the years to come.  Once again, congratulations to everyone and good luck.