COLUMBIA — The glow of smiling faces lit up the Kimball Ballroom at Stephens College as the 51 graduating students moved their tassels from right to left in unison.
“I know I could not be the woman I am today without the help of Stephens College,” said Mandy Trainer, a commencement class speaker and the graduate representative.
Twenty-three students walked as master’s degree candidates and 28 as bachelor’s degree candidates on Saturday.
The commencement speaker was Jane Hobson Marcus, a 1978 Stephens College graduate and member of the Board of Trustees. She spoke to the students about going after their passions and dreams and staying true to themselves.
“I think of my Stephens experience 32 years ago, but most importantly, I look at the opportunities in front of you,” Marcus said.
She finished her speech with a piece of advice; “Be authentic, be unique, and be yourself.”
Commencement class speaker and undergraduate representative Elaine Hughes spoke of the friends and memories she made and the families she formed after moving from Co Mayo, Ireland, to attend Stephens. Hughes graduated not only with a bachelor of fine arts degree in digital filmmaking but with “a page-long list of achievements,” as Diane Lynch, president of Stephens College, described Hughes’s time at Stephens.
Hughes wishes to move to England and begin her career, and she expressed her desire for her classmates to achieve their goals as well.
“I hope all of your wishes and dreams come true,” Hughes said to her fellow graduates. “Congratulations and go get 'em, guys.”