Commencement & Reunions

July 23rd, 2009

On the 24th of May, 2,157 students earned Brown degrees. As they sat on the College Green enduring a passing rain shower in their uniform caps and gowns, the graduates made a tableau of triumph and success. Alongside them, particularly during the march down College Hill, were the reunion classes, who added a dimension of often hard-earned experience as they welcomed the graduating class into their ranks.

But success is hardly uniform. For some it comes easily, while for others it requires a struggle. We all rightly hail the super-achievers among the graduates with academia's codes of accomplishment: magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi. Less visible are the victories of those from whom college demanded an overhaul of the self, a reconciling of old assumptions and expectations with new insights and passions. Some students undertake this process voluntarily, but for others it's a response to adversity beyond their control.

What follows are profiles of seven members of the class of 2009 who forged themselves during their time at Brown. These are young men and women who ran into potentially overwhelming obstacles and beat the odds. They are stories of courage and determination, of a newfound wisdom growing out of reflection and humility. They are a testament to the transformative power of a Brown education, and the generous heart of the students at its center.

In addition, we have photos and stories from the weekend's festivities and coverage of the major reunion classes, illustrating the divergent journeys that begin with that fateful walk through the Van Wickle Gates.

What do you think?
See what other readers are saying about this article and add your voice. 
Related Issue
July/August 2009