It cannot be said that Justin Schoonmaker ('09) does not value history. Hailing from Westford, Mass., he attended the sixth oldest public high school in the country, the Westford Academy, which was founded in 1792. More importantly, however, Schoonmaker has made sure to start building a history of his own.
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As the 2009 student Commencement speaker, he will be joining the featured Commencement Speaker, Tom Brokaw. A common student would be intimidated by the prospect, but Schoonmaker believes he has a lot of life and ideas to share.
"Speaking at Commencement is an incredible honor. I can't think of any way I would rather end my undergraduate work," he said.
Schoonmaker has had what some might consider an untraditional experience at the College. He married his wife Angelica Schoonmaker ('07), a former religious studies major, in 2005, and together they have two small children: a two-year-old son, Asher, and a nine-month-old daughter, Eden. Schoonmaker proposed to his wife on the College's Sunken Garden, and they had their reception at the Hospitality House on Richmond Road. Together, they live in one of the four apartments in the Ludwell complex set aside for family housing.
As a philosophy major, Schoonmaker is particularly interested in the philosophy of religion as well as ethics. In his time at William & Mary, he's been heavily involved with Generation Church, a student organization on campus that is affiliated with the Christian Life Center, which is a local non-denomination church. There, he oversees several small-group Bible studies, and helps to facilitate biweekly services on campus. As a senior this year, he is president of the organization. At the Christian Life Center, he is a senior leader in the church's youth and young adult ministry.
At the beginning of this year, Schoonmaker took a job as a full-time Web consultant for the College's information technology office. His responsibilities have included overseeing the migration of several arts and sciences departments and campus offices into the new Web format that was launched this school year. He also provides training in the content management system, Cascade, for Web editors and is tasked with the responsibility of editing and implementing photography on much of the Web site. After graduating, he plans to stay with information technology and, after taking a short time off, plans to apply to William & Mary's Mason School of Business to enter their Flex MBA program.
As for right now, however, he is focusing on finishing his degree and looking forward to the Commencement exercise. Schoonmaker is confident he can succeed at both.
"I think on Commencement day, graduates and their families want to hear something that captures their attention, inspires them, and elicits a laugh or two," he said. " I'm confident my speech is versatile enough to fulfill all three of those desires."