Rain and shine: Class of 2018 celebrates with faculty and staff at Senior Picnic
Seniors, faculty and staff filled Lakeside Dining Hall on Wednesday for the annual Senior Picnic sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Office of the Provost.
Dark skies drove the annual Senior Picnic from Under the Oaks to Lakeside Dining Hall but rain showers didn't drown out the celebratory spirit.
The annual gathering sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Office of the Provost is an opportunity to honor the graduating class. Members of the Class of 2018 use the time to reconnect with each other, visit with favorite professors and visit with staff members with just days to go before they graduate.
This year, the forecast meant a move indoors that thankfully helped the revelers avoid the spring rainstorm that drenched the campus about 1 p.m. Lakeside Dining Hall and the Lakeside meeting rooms offered ample space for reminiscing, catching up and talking about what comes next after graduation.
“The rainy weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Class of 2018 as they gathered with faculty and staff to close out their time at Elon,” said Brian Feeley, director of alumni engagement. “The annual Senior Picnic is such a wonderful opportunity for the campus community to celebrate the senior class and all they have accomplished.”
For senior Karl-Luis Neubig, Wednesday's picnic offered an opportunity to wind down after rounding out his academic career at Elon. Neubig said he was in the library until Monday night finishing up his academic work.
"This week has been about spending time with friends, stopping by to see professors, catching up with mentors and thanking them for what they've meant to me," Neubig said. "It's about taking the time to walk around campus and soak it all in, for celebration, for reflection, but also looking forward to what's next."
Neubig, originally from Wayne, Pennsylvania, will be attending the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, where he'll be working on a one-year master's degree in management innovation. "Elon has prepared me very well for this next step," Neubig said.
Seniors stopped tables to make a contribution to the Senior Class Gift and learn about annual giving. They were able to locate the nearest alumni chapter to where they will be living next, and learn about how they can continue to support and be involved in Elon once they graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives. A map of the United States highlighting the 38 Elon Alumni chapters around the country, with seniors asked to place a pushpin in the location they will be living in next.
“This senior class has made the most of the opportunities that Elon has offered them — as leaders, as researchers, as civically engaged members of the larger community,” said Provost Steven House. “We’re so proud of everything this class of students has done during the past four years. Coming together today to celebrate who they are and who they will be paves the way to Commencement on Saturday.”
For Kelsey Warren, the picnic was a chance to slow down and spend time with fellow students she sees around campus but might have lost touch with. "Being able to spend the time to sit down and talk with them today was so nice," Warren said.
Madeline Yih, who was visiting with Warren and Peter Wages, echoed that. "I talked to people that I lived with during my first year but don't really see anymore, as well as professors I had during my first years at Elon," she said.
Yih, who worked in the President's Office for three years, said she's most looking forward to hearing the Commencement address by President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert. "Hearing him speak one last time and hearing him say, 'Long live Elon!' is going to be so special," Yih said.
Cassidy Hamilton took the opportunity to brag on her friend, Grant Paylor, a fellow musical theatre major who will be singing the national anthem during Commencement on Saturday. Paylor said he's thrilled to have many members of his extended family travel here to see him graduate and perform.
"I am excited to get to have our last moment together here at Elon to be him singing and sending us all off," Hamilton said. "That's going to be so special to me."