For many seniors, the idea of graduation is one of excitement as well as reflection – reflection not only on one’s classes but of the friendships, mentors, professors and others who have made their William & Mary experience worthwhile.
For Emily Nye '16, it is a time to not only reflect, but also a time to thank the very institution that has made her goals a reality.
"When I came to William & Mary as a freshman, I came with a lot of excitement, but also with a fair amount of fear in my back pocket," said Nye, adding that she thought she might have to transfer due to the cost of out-of-state tuition.
"It was only by what I can call a miracle of fate that I am still standing here two years later ready to graduate," said Nye. "Since the moment I learned I would be able to stay, I have woken up every single day so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the Tribe."
It is this idea of gratitude that Nye will discuss in her address as the Charter Day student speaker this year. The ceremony will take place Feb. 5 in William & Mary Hall.
"This institution means so much to me and at the end of the day, I owe its very existence to the fact that two monarchs signed a piece of paper 323 years ago. It’s hard to think of what my life would be like had that never happened," said Nye.
Nye – who grew up in Hartsgrove, Ohio, on a large beef cattle and crop farm – spent her childhood competitively showing Black Angus beef steers.
She is a marketing and English double major, who is currently writing her senior English honors thesis on 20th century American veteran war authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut and Tim O’Brien. In addition to her schoolwork, she is the chief staff writer for The Flat Hat, a Tribe Tour Guide and member of Delta Gamma sorority. She is also involved with Students for University Advancement as well as the music committee of Alma Mater Productions.
"Growing up, writing and storytelling were a huge part of my life," said Nye. "If you had asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I 'grew up,' the answer would have undoubtedly been, 'a writer.' At 22 years old, that answer has not changed. More than anything else, I believe in the power of a great story."
It is due to this conviction that Nye will also touch on the power of finding one's own voice in her speech."I hope more than anything else that my speech will communicate the importance of finding your own voice at the College and being proud of what special contribution each student can make to the greater College community," said Nye. "William & Mary is an incredible university, and it is because every student here has such a unique story and together those stories weave together to create this powerful collective narrative."