May 22, 2019 — Georgetown College is thrilled to announce the graduation of its Class of 2019, which celebrated a successful Commencement ceremony last weekend on Healy Lawn.
The Class of 2019 contains 852 students, including 694 earning a bachelor of arts degree and 158 earning a bachelor of science. Almost 800 students graduated on Saturday; the remainder either finished their studies in December 2018 or will do so in August 2019.
Students from the College represented over half of those completing undergraduate degrees at Georgetown University this year.
At Saturday’s ceremony, acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a doctorate of humane letters, honoris causa, and delivered the commencement address.
Amidst jokes about recovering from Senior Week, anecdotes about her own life, and rousing calls for social reform, Adichie applauded students for their achievements and provided valuable life advice.
Much of Adichie’s speech revolved around the concept of defining one’s own goals, even in the face of contradictory expectations.
“This, your graduation, is the time that you'll hear grand pronouncements — to go out and 'do something big' in the world,” she said. “That’s not a bad thing. But I encourage you to go define for yourself what 'big' means.”
A Nigerian-American who has written extensively on issues of race and identity, Adichie praised the Georgetown student body for its recent vote on reparations for the descendants of the 272 enslaved workers the school sold in 1838. She called for graduates to preserve that spirit of activism as they move on in the world.
“Extreme individualism will not serve you well, no matter what course your life takes, she said. “Social action matters. Caring about the rights of others is important, because in doing so, you preserve a system that protects your own rights.”
Reflecting on the nature of happiness, Adichie encouraged the Class of 2019 to live in the moment, resisting the temptation to move rapidly on to the next occasion.
“It seems to me that the consequence of our modern, fast lives is that happiness is a condition we recognize only in retrospect,” she said. “So please — remember to be happy when you are happy.”
Following Adichie’s remarks, each member of the Class of 2019 was announced and crossed the stage, receiving a translation of the Latin inscription on their Georgetown diplomas. Following closing remarks from President John J. DeGioia and a benediction from Director of Hindu Life Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan, the ceremony closed.
Congratulations, Class of 2019!
— Patrick Curran