MESSAGES TO GRADUATES FROM YOUR ENGLISH FACULTY
Special Message from Chair Kim McCollum-Clark (click to expand)
Dear English Graduates,
Words on the page. That is what I am producing, and that is what I am thinking about as I grapple with how to congratulate you all as our latest Department of English graduates. The sentiments and emotions are right there: how proud we are of you and your efforts. How happy we hope you are at achieving such a significant life goal. How excited everyone in your lives must be—your family and friends and professors—to see what your next steps will mean for you.
Usually, we mark this time in your life with what some call a “threshold event,” in recognition of its special quality. We humans want to bring meaning to things, after all, and birth celebrations and weddings and funerals and Confirmations and bar/bat mitzvahs—these all say, this moment in time is special. These events creates a before and an after. We gather with the one being celebrated to mark that they stand on the cusp of something new, yet to unfold.
At graduations, the threshold event celebrates your commitment to your own future, as you have seen it emerge and develop. It is an event powered by your hard work, your late nights, the times you got over your doubt, the times you roared forth with confidence. At these events, as your professors, we all long to celebrate you, to hug or shake your hands, to greet your families and friends. We want to hear your plans for the future and remember the past we shared.
You know where this is going, of course. This year, we cannot do those things in each other’s company. You deserve such a celebration, for you have persisted and finished your degree in two of the wildest and most difficult semesters in American higher education history. You watched as your plans for victory laps and final moments on campus became smoke. I don’t want to focus on the grief and struggle that we have all encountered this year, but I cannot let it go unnamed either. Our campus, without you, is a lovely, but sterile place. We have been reminded, over and over, that these spaces are meant to animated by you and your dreams and your laughter, by your plots and jokes and just-squeaking in the door on time arrivals. This is one of the things we faculty have learned in this pandemic year.
We hope that, among the many things you have learned this year, you realized how strong, passionate, and capable you are when things get hard. You finished those courses, that internship, that thesis! (This is the part where the airhorns in the stands go off—insert your favorite HUZZAH sound here.) And one day, “Fall 2020” will just be words on a page. You will say, “I finished college in the middle of a pandemic!” and I hope your listener realizes the two most important words in this sentence are “I” and “FINISHED.” You brought it home. You MADE IT through in a time that has challenged every single person living through it. You held on to that thread that guided you here and leads you forward.
We are English folks, so we should know in our bones the powers of words on a page. Sometimes they seem ephemeral, like they have no hold on what is really happening. And then, mysteriously, because someone tried to set them down—they mark an occasion. They remind us of a piece of what we endured. They LAST. They can bring us back to who we were and how we felt. I hope these words have shared with you the bittersweet mixture of emotions we are feeling as we remember you, grieve our common loss of being separated from you early, and celebrate the next steps that await you. Let us know where you land and into what new adventures you take your piece of Millersville University. Congratulations, from everything we have in us, for all you have achieved.
-Dr. Kim McCollum-Clark
Dear Graduates, You deserve the grandest of congratulations as you persevered through a truly challenging final stretch of your college careers. We value so much the hard work you have put into your time here and we wish you all the best as you move into the next chapters of your lives. You always have a home here at Millersville, so please stay connected. Keep reading, keep writing, and keep sharing your talents with the world!
-Dr. Justin Mando
Congratulations to you all! We are so impressed with the individual ways you have made this degree your own Please stay in touch. We will miss you.
-Dr. Caleb Corkery
Dear Winter grads, congrats on achieving this major milestone, especially during such a difficult time! The world needs your talents now more than ever – we wish you the best for the future. Please keep in touch!
-Dr. Kaitlin Mondello
Congratulations on accomplishing this major milestone, despite the difficult times! I hope you keep this perseverance and courage through the rest of your life. And I hope you find ways to fulfill all your goals and dreams. Please return to your Millersville English family for our future alumni events!
-Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak
Congratulations to all of you! I have had the pleasure of working with nine of you, and all of you should be proud of your work and all your accomplishments through your time at Millersville. I wish you the very best in your future and know you will all have many, many successes. I can’t wait to hear about all of them! As Henry David Thoreau said,
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
Please keep in touch!
-Dr. Kerrie Farkas
Millersville University English graduates,
While you have read about numerous worlds in literary works, now it is time to create your own as you forge new paths post-graduation. This is an exciting time and nothing short of extraordinary. I wish you the best of luck and know you will succeed as you write your own narrative. Congratulations!
Dear Winter 2020 Graduates in English:
Congratulations for your perseverance! You have reached an important milestone in your academic and professional lives in the midst of one of the most difficult times we have ever endured.
The skills you have developed, and the ways of being in the world that you have cultivated, will serve you well in the future. More than ever, our world will need people who can read carefully and critically, write persuasively, and help us to imagine different futures.
Best of luck!
-Dr. Tim Mayers
(Click on the names below for personalized messages to our graduates)
Sydney, your serious, inquisitive nature will take you far, especially since it’s balanced with a caring heart. Look forward to seeing where you apply it. – Caleb Corkery
It was wonderful to have you in my classes throughout your years at Millersville. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck with all your plans!
Dear Mikia—I will miss having you in class ❤ But I am happy to see you graduating and moving on to greater things! I hope you continue to use what you have learned in film. Please keep in touch!
Mikia, what fun to see you grow through these years. I remember thinking you were shy back as a freshman. You have so much to bring out there. Can’t wait to see it. – Caleb Corkery
Congratulations on your graduation! It was wonderful to have you in my classes throughout your studies at Millersville. I look forward to reading your ambitious final paper in the African American literature class. Best of luck with all your plans!
Congratulations! You did it! I enjoyed being your advisor throughout the years, and I’m so glad you finally found your true interest in film at the end. Best of luck with all your plans!
Leah is one of the hardest working students I’ve ever met. She studied abroad in Peru as part of her Spanish major, while staying in contact with me about her Writing Studies Honors thesis. I am so excited to see all that Leah will accomplish after graduation!
It was wonderful to have you in our creative writing class this semester. The writing you shared and the feedback you gave to your peers were so valuable. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck with all your plans. I hope you keep writing and I hope to see you at our literary festivals in the future.
Way to go, Karen! Congratulations!! I look forward to hearing about your accomplishments in the future. I am sure great things await!!
Congratulations, Karen! We’re all proud of your accomplishment and wish you the best in the future! I remember well cruising the Susquehanna River with you in our tandem kayak and the good work you did in that class.
DYLAN MARCIANO – Magna Cum Laude
Wow, Dylan, I’m so proud of all your excellent work to graduate magna cum laude. We’ve been through so many years together, and I’m going to miss your visits, but I will look forward to meeting outside of Millersville for coffee and updates on you and Jess. I’m so excited for your future and the mark you will make on the world.
I remember well the hard work you put into our Environmental Writing class and the creative way you approached the Tiny Ecology Project. I encourage you to continue to see the extraordinary in what others allow to pass them by. That’s a skill not everyone has and you’ve got it in spades! Best wishes to you in the future. I think you’re bound for many great accomplishments! -Justin Mando
It was nice to have you in class this semester. I appreciated your regular contributions to our class discussions and your insightful observations. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck with all your plans!
Congratulations on your graduation! I will miss you! It was great to follow the development of your creative writing and your interests in African American literature throughout your career at Millersville. Your presentation at Made in Millersville about identity and your struggle with diabetes last year was wonderful. Good luck with all your future plans! I hope you keep writing and I hope to see you at our literary festivals.
You inspire me! The book of poems, perseverance through rough times, and all with such grace, organization, and positivity. So glad to have you in class in your last semester and get to know you better. Congratulations on your graduation! I look forward to hearing about all the successes you will have! Keep writing and getting your voice out there to inspire others!
Monee is such a joy to work with. Her passion for writing is obvious in her assignments and research projects. She is working toward writing children’s books, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!
Congratulations on your graduation! We will all miss you here! You did a wonderful job with The George Street Press. Good luck with your teaching plans. I’m sure you will be an amazing educator! I hope to see you at our literary festivals in the future.
Congratulations! I still remember the ethnographic essay you wrote about George Street Club in my 311 class. Keep up the great work and best wishes for everything!
All I can say is Oughtgeist, Oughtgeist, Outgeist! I can’t believe this is the first short story you have written, and I encourage you to try your hand at more as you have a gift! It was a pleasure having you (and your cat) in class. Best wishes to you and congratulations on your graduation.
Dear Chloe, I will miss the many notes. You always thought you were bothering, but I always loved that you were reaching out with your questions ❤ I’m a little teary that I won’t get to see you walk the stage—the culmination of all those emails and hard work! Congratulations, Chloe!!
Cindy, what a delight working with you these past years. I’ll miss your easy-going, thoughtful style. You’ll have so much to contribute wherever you end up. – Caleb Corkery
Congratulations! It has been a great pleasure to work with you this semester, and thank you for the perspectives you brought to our 464 class. Best wishes for everything!
Congratulations, Colin. Your road to graduation has been more challenging, and I know you have put in more effort than mere words can recognize to get here. I want to recognize all that extra effort, that has made this accomplishment all the more impressive. Wow, Colin!! Heartfelt wow!!
Congratulations on your huge achievement. It was a pleasure to have you in class (and to ride the bus with you regularly). I wish you all the best in the future. Please keep in touch as you wish. You know where to find me (over e-mail or in the office).
Colin, congratulations on all you’ve accomplished. You are such a model of perseverance and life spirit. You’ve touched so many of us. Thank you. – Caleb Corkery
Make sure you watch the Millersville Alumni Graduation video: