The class of 2018 commences

Commencement at Gettell Amphitheater

By Keely Savoie

On Sunday, May 20, Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater will be filled with champions — Fulbright scholars, hackathon stars, musicians, aspiring doctors, artists, activists and athletes.

On that day, about 600 students, including 40 graduate students and nine international guest students, will walk across the stage as they celebrate the momentous occasion of Mount Holyoke College’s 181st Commencement.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi will deliver the keynote speech to send the graduates off into the world on words of encouragement and change. With this newest crop of fully fledged seniors, Mount Holyoke students are poised to make the world a better place — now more than ever.

Happy graduates

With graduating students’ happiness as high as it is, it’s no wonder Mount Holyoke has such a loyal base of alumnae. Nearly all of the graduates — 98 percent — are satisfied with the quality of instruction they’ve gotten at Mount Holyoke. Similarly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, 97 percent say they are satisfied with the level of intellectual engagement of campus. And 96 percent say that they are happy with the opportunities for personal growth and development at Mount Holyoke.

Mount Holyoke also enjoys one of the highest graduate school admission rates in the country and alumnae attend some of the finest institutions in the world. This year, five graduates will be heading to Columbia University to pursue their graduate education, while others are heading to Cornell and Harvard universities and the University of Pennsylvania. Some students will attend institutions including Emory, Rice and New York universities and the University of Chicago. Still others intend to pursue graduate study abroad at institutions including the universities of Oxford, Leeds and Manchester in England, and universities in Canada and Germany.

Some graduates intend to go straight into jobs in the sectors of their choosing. Mount Holyoke‘s Career Development Center is there, along with its deep internship support administered through the Lynk program, to ensure that Mount Holyoke students get that vital head start to excel in the career of their choosing.

Thanks in part to Mount Holyoke’s commitment to student internship experiences through the Lynk and other programs, five of Mount Holyoke’s 2018 grads have offers to work for  Google and three are heading to Teach for America. Of students who have are considering full-time jobs, 15 percent have six-figure offers.

Ready to fly

At the end of the day, Commencement is about celebrating the successes, big and small, of all the students who put in the time, effort, and passion to cross the stage on Commencement Day.

Hoa Nguyen ’18, is one. A double major in journalism and mass communication and French, Nguyen used Lynk funding to complete an internship at Women’s e-News in Manhattan. She also served as the communications intern for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., as part of its Women in Public Service Project. This summer, Nguyen will return to Washington to intern at the American Bankers Association, where she will help manage their marketing website.

“I’m also planning to apply to journalism school this coming year to study investigative journalism,” she said. “My longer-term goal is to become a foreign correspondent for an international newspaper.”

Ngyuen embodies the spirit of a soon-to-be Mount Holyoke alumna: eager, ambitious, willing — and savvy.

“When I think about students who have leveraged the opportunities available to them on this campus, she really stands out,” said Kelly Uccello FP’03, who is assistant director of the Career Development Center. “She took advantage of every program and initiative on campus. She’s done everything.”

Nguyen plans to graduate alongside the rest of her classmates, each of whom is prepared to take on the world in their own way. Some graduates will return to their home countries to practice social entrepreneurship and apply the skills they have learned while at Mount Holyoke. Some will go to business school. Some will attend medical school. Eight have been offered Fulbright fellowships.

Among the more than 2,500 Commencement guests expected, four will be Nguyen’s parents and grandparents, flying in from Hanoi, Vietnam, who will come to see their daughter walk across the stage into her new life.

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