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Graduation 2023

  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Carter Hall and Kari Martin at the Kinesiology Ceremony.  Kari Martin
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    Graduation 2023  Nancy Beinlich and Sarah Mooradian sitting at ceremony.  Nancy Beinlich
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Amber Bode, Tabby Billingham, and Sally Snead under the Sunken Garden tent before the Kinesiology graduation.  Amber Bode
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Kaitlyn Brittingham and Nancy Beinlich sitting at graduation before the ceremony.  Nancy Beinlich
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Bob Kohl and Sydney Senn on stage under the lights.  Stephanie Tackett
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Faculty overlooking the diplomas.  Stephanie Tackett
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Graduates cheering their family and friends for all they did.  Stephanie Tackett
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    Graduation 2023  Nancy Beinlich and Prof. Robin Looft-Wilson after graduation.  Nancy Beinlich
  • Graduation 2023
    Graduation 2023  Message on graduates cap.  Stephanie Tackett
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Graduation was held in the Sunken Gardens under a tent that held 1300+ attendees on Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 4:30 to 6:00pm. The Chair, Brennan Harris, was away at his daughter’s graduation, so Robert Kohl took over the introductions for the ceremony.  Bob, who is retiring this year, spoke about how the time at W&M is like a river, paraphrasing a quote from Heraclitus, “You never step in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and not the same person.” And at the end he said “we are both leaving the W&M river together but I am further along the river than you are.”

Sydney Senn was named Major of the Year and gave a speech to the graduating class of 2023. (The full speech is below.) Then Ashleigh Queen and Amy Rains read the names of the graduates and as they came up on stage, Bob handed them their diplomas and their families were able to take pictures.  At the end of the ceremony Bob had the graduates cheer their parents and friends for all they did for them. There was supposed to be refreshments at the end, but the caterers had the food out early and everything was gone by the end of the ceremony. We are proud of our department’s graduates and wish them all the best.

Sydney Senn's Major of the Year Speech

Sydney Senn - Major of the Year 2023Thank you Dr. Kohl for that wonderful introduction. Hello Class of 2023! I am honored to have the opportunity to address you as we celebrate our tremendous accomplishments. I also want to express how grateful I am that this ceremony does not take place in our favorite building, Adair Hall and instead is on the beautiful Sunken Garden. Throughout my time here, I have spent a LOT of hours in Adair hall, and always enjoy seeing the friendly faces of Stephanie Tackett and Chris Wilson in the front office as I walk in. I researched in my lab right next to the gym and typed away to the rhythm of ballroom dance music, screams from club karate, or the pounding of volleyballs hitting the wall. I even broke my foot in the Adair pool last semester, but it’s okay, I finished coaching water polo practice after because I knew exactly what bone it was- the second metatarsal. Thanks Dr. Burnet!

A fun fact about me is that I used to be terrified of public speaking, but sophomore   year Sydney thought it would be a spectacular idea to become a tour guide, and maybe that helped. Or maybe not, you can let me know at the end of this speech. This celebration came a little quicker than I first anticipated, but someone sat on the   remote, pressed fast forward for a year, and well oops, here I am, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this moment with you. I would like to start by giving a big thank you to the professors that supported us through this journey, and I would like to highlight a few who I had the pleasure of learning from. To Dr. Queen, who I started my Kinesiology journey with in Intro to the Human Body, and followed through with   medical terminology and human phys lab. I’ll never forget logging on to a zoom meeting with you as a pre-PA advisor where you told me, “Sydney, you can graduate in three years”. I am still recovering from that meeting if I am being honest. Next to Dr.

Harris, my first in person college class with Physiology of the Marathon, a class where you can get a workout and a lecture, talk about maximum efficiency, something students at William & Mary are always looking for. To Dr. Menefee for making a summer class on zoom that I could attend from my home in Utah, and also teaching me all about public health so my older sister finally has someone to talk about the social determinants of health with.

To Dr. Rains for cooking for our Nutrition and the Brain class when the college cuisine wasn’t quite doing it for me, or really for anyone. And to Dr. Burnet, who has been an incredible mentor and inspiration to me and my future studies. Sorry I sent you 12 emails my freshman year begging for an override into Health Related Exercise Prescription, but those have been the best 12 emails I have ever sent. Thank you for guiding me through the research process, believing in me, and forcing me to touch a tree outside when I was stressed. It really helped.

 And to all the professors in the department, thank you for helping us navigate this undergraduate experience. I was always amazed how I could go to office hours and you could explain something to me in ten minutes that I had been trying to understand for ten hours. I was also amazed how in the ten minute walk back to my dorm, I could convince myself that it doesn’t make sense anymore. Thank you for adjusting your curriculum and continuing to teach us through the countless, “Hey, I think you might be muted's” on zoom and helping us find certainty in an uncertain world. You have been great leaders throughout our academic success and personal growth.

 Next, I would like to thank the parents and families that have supported us on this unpredictable journey. I know how important my family has been throughout this whole process, making a commitment to me and my dreams every day no matter what the sacrifice. I am sure that you have all edited endless papers, listened to the “I am going to drop out of college” speech every other week, and been horrified at how much stuff can be accumulated in one year when you come to help move us out. Or if you have a mom like mine, when I FaceTime her and ask for advice about a health-related career, I get the answer “Girl, I don’t know, watch Grey’s Anatomy!” But you’ve also been there for the celebrations along the way, and I truly mean it when I say that we could not have done it without you.

 Finally, to the Class of 2023, we did it! We made the most out of the cards that were dealt, and uplifted each other through the roadblocks along the way. But we learned   the importance of being present and savoring the moments that we get to spend together, face to face. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am not the same person leaving William and Mary as I was when I came in. I wrote my college essay for William and Mary about how women’s clothing has no pockets, and here I am now,  well, still complaining about how women’s clothing has no pockets but doing it with a newfound confidence in myself as I am one step closer to achieving my dreams. Now, I feel fully underqualified to be giving advice, so I am choosing to take someone else’s. Before crossing the street at my elementary school, my dad would always tell us “Mach Alles Was Kasch”, which means be the best you can be. I guess it must really be that simple.

 When I look out to this class, I see people that have done just that. Many of us are moving forward to become physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, nutritionists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, and so much more. Careers where we will learn to speak up but not over, advocating for our patients by listening to what they have to say. Where we will learn our why. Mine is for people like my younger brother who literally brings his own seat to the table, and it’s our job to make sure there’s a table for him to roll up to in the first place. And this applies even if you aren’t moving into a health career, we all have the potential to make an impact by just taking the time to listen to the stories of those around us. And while this may only have been part of mine, I can’t wait to continue to write the rest of it (hopefully with less APA citations), and I can confidently say that I am leaving William & Mary prepared to do just that. I wish us all luck as continue to grow through what we go through, showing   up for ourselves first so we can move on to support others, and protecting our peace throughout the process. Congratulations again, and best wishes Class of 2023! Mach alles was kasch!