‘More is required of you’

Steena Hymes

May 19, 2014

Janisse Ray, commencement address speaker, possibly said it best when she told LaGrange College’s 2014 graduating class, “More is required of you.”

Saturday morning, 214 graduating students along with family, friends, teachers and supporters came out to LaGrange College to bid farewell to one chapter and start a new one.

Ray, bestselling author and environmental activist, was selected as this year’s speaker.

Though she told students she doesn’t usually give young adults advice, Ray addressed the students offering things to remember as they leave LaGrange College.

“Think for yourself, that’s the purpose of a college education … to learn how to think.” she said.

Ray warned graduates against getting caught up on what the world is selling and to listen to science, common sense, intuition and their hearts.

“The world is looking for thinkers and doers, not consumers. The world is looking for restorers, not reproducers. The world is looking for peace, not military prowess. The world is looking for people willing to live in service to humanity, to the future with something bigger than personal desire. The world is looking for people who aren’t afraid.” Ray said as she capped her speech.

Ray lives on an organic farm near Reidsvilles and is a founding board member of Altamaha Riverkeeper and is on the board of the Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College and Satilla Riverkeeper. Her books include, multi-award winning “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” “Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home” and “Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land.”

This year’s winner of the Waights G. Henry Award went to Christopher Isaiah Whitfield. The award is the highest award presented to a graduating senior of each class who exemplifies leadership, service and scholarship.

Whitfield took the time to urge students to follow their passions and take risks.

“Find passion and pursue it relentlessly. Someone once said when you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Whitfield said. “I have a different view, however. I say, when you do what you love, you’ll work the hardest you’ve ever worked every day, and be grateful for the opportunity.”

Whitfield studied political science, served as a resident advisor and served as vice president of the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Alpha Delta Gamma. He also was the vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa and the secretary and president of the Interfraternal Council.

Recording more service hours than any class before, Amanda Stukel presented President Dan McAlexander with a $3,223 check on behalf of the class of 2014 as its senior gift.

Peggy Cobb Schug, class of 1970, was presented the Distinguished Service Alumni Award.

“Peggy is such a great representative of the heart and soul of this campus,” McAlexander said.

Schug urged graduates to stay engaged with their college and community and continue to give back.

Quincy Brown summarized the day delivery the invocation saying,

“Today is a monument to wisdom, knowledge and truth.”