Goodbye Class of 2013

CONWAY, Ark. (May 11, 2013) – Hendrix said a fond farewell to the 329 graduates of the Class of 2013. Representing 35 states and five foreign countries, it is the second largest class to enroll in Hendrix history.

"Commencement is always a poignant moment for us, and it carries a real sense of loss as well as pride and vicarious accomplishment," said Hendrix Provost Dr. Robert L. Entzminger, who gave the commencement address.

Class of 2013 Highlights:

  • 32 initiated Phi Beta Kappa members
  • 85 graduating with Latin honors
  • A Fulbright Fellow
  • A Watson Fellow
  • A Goldwater Scholar
  • A National Science Foundation Fellowship winner
  • 10 who have been accepted into Teach for America, Peace Corps, or Americorps
  • 1,000 Odyssey projects

The Class of 2013 includes 152 Arkansas students, 53 Texas students, 19 students from Tennessee, and 15 international students. Vianney R. Rurangwa, education program officer for the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, was present to congratulate Rwandan students in the Class of 2013 who attended Hendrix as Rwandan Presidential Scholars, a program spearheaded by Hendrix with the support of the William J. Clinton Foundation. This is the third year of Hendrix graduates under the program

"A part of the ritual that precedes graduation is a vote taken by the faculty and confirmed by a vote of the Board of Trustees, to award you a degree. That's right. You've been voted off the island," Entzminger joked. "Our vote rather represents our conviction that you are ready to leave the nurturing environs of Hendrix for the larger world."

In his address, Entzminger reflected on the state of the world when he graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1970.

"When I sat where you are sitting, at my college commencement, my classmates and I were looking forward to a very uncertain future. The country was involved in military conflict abroad with no end in sight, we had just passed through a bitterly divisive Presidential campaign, there was violence in the cities and on campuses, the effort to extend full rights to marginalized groups was being met with powerful resistance, alarm bells were sounding over damage to the environment, there were protests against the institutions that form the foundations of the free enterprise system, the government was widely distrusted, and the economy was on shaky ground," he said. "Thank goodness those days are behind us. On behalf of my generation, I am happy to say that we are turning over to you the keys to a world in which all those problems have been solved. Everything is fine now ..."

"You leave here with the unique blend of knowledge and intellectual skills, idealism and practicality, friendship and generosity that the Hendrix education provides, equipping you not just to weather the tempestuous times that you will surely face, but to navigate through them toward a better future for yourself as well as for your community and your world," he said. "I hope further that a part of what you carry from this island are the small kindnesses that give a local habitation and a face to the generosity of spirit that abides so fully in this place: the help you got when you fell seriously ill half a world away; the new faculty member you'd never met who nonetheless went out of his way to give you invaluable assistance on your senior thesis; the cafeteria worker who carried your tray when you were on crutches; the groundskeeper who never failed to brighten your day with a cheerful greeting. There's no app for that."

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Entzminger, Provost and Professor of English, was named to his present position in 2002, having previously taught at Virginia Tech from 1976-1987 and at Rhodes College from 1987-2002. At Rhodes he was named T.K. Young Professor of English and chaired the English department for 13 years. He earned his doctorate in English literature from Rice University in 1975 and bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University in 1970, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. His publications include Divine Word: Milton and the Redemption of Language (Duquesne University Press, 1985) as well as numerous articles on 16th and 17th century British literature. He has twice won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and has been elected to offices in a number of professional and scholarly organizations, including serving on the executive committee of the Milton Society of America and the South Central Modern Language Association. He was twice elected president of the Southeastern Renaissance Conference , has served as a member of the Chief Academic Officers' Task Force of the Council of Independent Colleges, and served a two-year term as chair of the Deans' Council of the Associated Colleges of the South.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.