Sunshine and a clear, blue sky abounded as Brunswick graduated 104 members of the Class of 2021 in its 119th Commencement Exercises on Wednesday, May 19.
The celebration on Edwards Campus brought hundreds of family members and friends to an outdoor ceremony on Cosby Field — the first gathering of its kind since the start of the pandemic 14 months ago.
Edward M. “Ned” Lamont P ’12, governor of Connecticut, served as commencement speaker. In true COVID-19 fashion, he delivered his remarks remotely, having been called away by the concurrent visit of President Joe Biden to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
“Look, it’s been one tough year,” Lamont told Brunswick. “Sometimes, life can throw some curveballs.
“People judge you not by pitches right over the plate that you hit well, but by how you handle those curve balls. I like to think you are handling them really well.”
Lamont said Connecticut is home to some of the best schools in the world, including Brunswick, and noted that people from around the world come here to get an education. He said it’s that kind of education that helped him lead the state through the “curveball” of the pandemic.
“Education teaches you not just a skill — not just STEM, not just coding, not just how to read and write ― but how to think, how to learn, and how to deal with those curveballs,” he said.
In a Brunswick first, Valedictorian Ali Hindy also served as Ivy Speaker.
Hindy took inspiration from classmate Ike Dolphan ’21, who was 16 when he died on Oct. 1, 2019, after a fight with glioblastoma. Later in the ceremony, Head of School Thomas W. Philip and the class honored Ike’s memory with a moment of silence.
Hindy noted that the Class of 2021 has faced more than one serious event.
“Not only did we fight to preserve Ike’s legacy, we were inspired by him and took what we learned to heart,” he said.
Hindy implored his classmates to be thankful.
“Be grateful for the passion Brunswick has inspired in you,” he said. “Be grateful for the friendships Brunswick has given you, and be grateful for the life you have.”
Philip reflected on the enormity of four concurrent, worldwide crises over the last year: The health emergency, an economic collapse, a constitutional crisis in the form of a violent mob overrunning the U.S. Capitol, and a summer of racial and civil unrest.
Philip said he remains as optimistic as ever, thanks to the strength, courage, and perseverance of the Class of 2021.
“Your enthusiasm, good nature, curiosity, ambition, and hope for the future — in no small part — made even the scariest days of the fall and winter seem more normal,” he said.
“Waking up each day and knowing that Brunswick School was a place filled with young men such as each of you offered hope and inspiration when those traits were so hard to find elsewhere.”
Graduates recognized for awards were:
Valedictorian: Ali Hindy
Kulukundis Cup: Ali Hindy
Community Service Award: William R. Berkley III
BPA Prize: Luke W. Hayes
Jenkins Athletic Award: Colin B. Mulshine
Thomas A. Altman Prize: Jonathan A. Citron
Robert L. Cosby Award: Keegan E. Gilsenan
A. Macdonald Caputo Award: Matthew G. Russell
Faculty Citations: Thomas J. Fouts, Christopher J. Perry, Tucker A. Murray, Michael B. O’Malley
Head of School’s Trophy: Noah G. Levi