Shimmering sunshine lit up Edwards Campus for a day of both merriment and tears as Brunswick graduated 100 members of the Class of 2019 at its 117th Commencement, on Wednesday, May 22.
The celebration brought hundreds of family members and friends from all over the world — some from as far away as Bali and Venezuela — to Dann Gymnasium on a sparkling spring day.
Anthony M. Kennedy, retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, served as Commencement Speaker.
Kennedy, the great-uncle of graduate Timothy Kennedy Saunders, told class members they will now serve as “trustees” of sorts for three cherished traditions: Brunswick School, their families, and America.
Kennedy invoked Aristotle, the Founding Fathers, Albert Einstein, and Alfred Tennyson as he encouraged the cohort of 2019 to help safeguard the traditions of all three.
“A trustee has responsibility to something that is cherished,” he said. “The trustee has a duty to keep it — and make it greater.”
Kennedy cited Brunswick for its long tradition of Courage, Honor, Truth. He asked the graduates to carry it forward and make it stronger.
“It is a great tradition,” he said. “Keep that trust. Honor that trust.”
Every family, too, carries its own traditions, and Kennedy exhorted the young men to value those as they move out into the world. Family has never been more important, he said.
Kennedy further told the graduates that both civility and democracy are “descending” worldwide.
“Democracy has to be kept. It has to be inspired, defended, treasured, and understood,” he said. “You are the trustees of freedom.”
Recalling the words of Henry James, Kennedy cited three rules of civility: Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind.
“Remember, the rest of the world is watching,” he said. “We must show we are capable of having a discussion.”
Valedictorian William C. Frauen, Jr., introduced “Ivy” Speaker Thomas J. Kimberlin, who drew laughter from the crowd as he joked with classmates and then grew more solemn as he told the story of a near failure.
He said an astronomy project sophomore year went off the rails, but to his surprise, a community of classmates and teachers helped lift him up. Classmate Harry Barringer gave him a big hug, and teacher Dana Montanez patiently guided him.
“Brunswick is at its core an establishment of excellent people,” he said. “This is what makes it so special.”
“Places like Brunswick just don’t exist everywhere,” he said.
Headmaster Thomas W. Philip said Commencement is always a watershed moment for graduates and their families, and the Class of 2019 is laden with family names “ingrained in the fabric of our School.”
He said 23 graduates are younger brothers of alumni, while 20 are “Lifers” — members of the Carmichael Society, who have been at Brunswick for 14 years.
Philip cited a recent op-ed by New York Timescolumnist David Brooks — “The Difference Between Happiness and Joy” — to explain just how significant a milestone as Commencement is for both the graduates and their families.
“As parents, we love our children with a passion that’s greater than the laws of nature,” Philip said, quoting Brooks: “Material things don’t explain the way our soul sings when we watch our loved ones glow.”
“Gentlemen of the class of 2019, you guys are glowing today,” Philip said. “And on behalf of all the faculty and parents in this room, our souls are singing.”
Rev. Elias G. Villis, father of graduate Nicholas Villis, provided the invocation.
“Good, loving, and merciful god,” he said, “bless and guide our graduates.”
“May all they have learned at Brunswick help them to truly be men for others,” he said. “Keep them safe, honorable, and healthy all the days of their life. Accept our tears that we shed as parents and grandparents for our beautiful boys, whether for joy or sorrow.”
Graduates recognized with awards of distinction were:
William C. Frauen, Jr.
William C. Frauen, Jr.
Community Service Award:
Charles L. Ciporin
Jenkins Athletic Award:
Timothy K. Saunders
Thomas A. Altman Prize:
Harold H. Barringer
Robert L. Cosby Award:
John J. Withstandley
A. Macdonald Caputo Award:
William R. Maynard
Asher G. Porphy
Christian F. Hartch
W. Scott Gibbons
Thomas J. Kimberlin