“Sincerely, Seniors” Reception Honors Colgate’s Torch Medal Recipients

Wynter Schnell, Maroon-News Staff

The class of 2019 gathered at the Hall of Presidents for “Sincerely, Seniors” on Friday, April 26. “Sincerely, Seniors” is a cocktail reception meant to celebrate the class of 2019 as well as the faculty, staff and community members that have impacted their journey and experiences at Colgate.

The Torch Medal tradition began seven years ago, according to Coordinator of Annual Giving Margot Rankins-Burd.

“Each senior has the opportunity to present this award to a member of Colgate’s faculty or staff who has had a meaningful impact on their time at Colgate,” Rankins-Burd said.

Cocktails and appetizers were served beginning at 6 p.m., and were followed by opening remarks from senior and Student Government Association (SGA) President Jenny Lundt. She shared some of her personal experiences during her time at Colgate, highlighting the connections and relationships she has fostered with staff and faculty along the way.

“The Torch Medal is engraved with the Colgate seal, bearing the distinguished symbol of the flaming torch. As a guide, a source of light and inspiration, it represents the best of student learning and discovery. It represents strength and support. It represents resilience and tenacity. It represents the ups and downs that four years at this school inevitably invites. But most importantly, it recognizes the people who helped us get here,” Lundt said.

Lundt discussed how Colgate staff and faculty have helped her and her fellow peers along their academic journey.

“Greeting us each morning with a smile. Sharing your academic passions with us. Coaching us. Leading us to victories on and off the field. Helping us search for jobs. Traveling with us. Making the Colgate campus beautiful and well-kept. Holding extra office hours to ensure we know the test material. Tutoring us. Investing in our success. So on and so forth through all the ups and downs of the last four years,” Lundt said.

Lundt lastly congratulated award recipients.

“To the recipients, you all deserve recognition for supporting us in our Colgate experience. You all have made this place a home for us, and on behalf of the Colgate student body, I cannot thank you enough for that,” Lundt said.

Following Lundt’s remarks, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Frank Frey addressed the class.

“Approaching graduation, it’s easy to worry about the future and get nostalgic about the past. But I would advise you not to forget to live in the present,” Frey said.

Shortly after Frey’s remarks, Senior Class President Justin Kunz and Senior Class Vice President Ashley De Hechavarria presented the Senior Class Award.

“The Senior Class Award was established by the Class of 1996. It is awarded annually by the members of the senior class to [the] member of the college administration or staff who had the most significant, positive impact on the members of the graduating class,” De Hechavarria said.

The recipient must be a full-time member of Colgate’s administration or staff for the four years which the seniors are in residence at Colgate.

De Hechavarria said that a few weeks prior, a survey was sent to the senior class asking them to vote on the recipient of the award.

Kunz said that he was excited to announce that the recipient of the Senior Class Award was Senior Associate Director for the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Frank Kuan.

“Students describe this man as radiating nothing but warmth and love for others. He is kind, generous, quick to laugh and celebrate people. He is a dapper dresser and foodie and stunts with his Mickey Mouse watches,” Kunz said.

Kuan said he was honored to be gifted the award.

“I am very humbled and honored. Thank you to you and your peers for making the bicentennial class of 2019 a special one. It has been a joy and a privilege to work alongside so many wonderful students—I am so appreciative to have been a part of their journey and experience at Colgate,” Kuan said.

Senior Micah Dirkers said he appreciated Friday’s event.

“I think that the ‘Sincerely, Seniors’ event is a great way for the senior class to come together, and an opportunity to enjoy food, community and conversation, as a way of wrapping up our Colgate tradition as a whole, even though we’ve all been involved in different spaces over these past four years,” Dirkers said.

Senior Shoshi Stern-Robbins echoed this sentiment.

“I’m just so happy to be surrounded by my peers and professors,” Stern-Robbins said. “These are all people I look up to. It’s so nice to have everyone in one place.”

Kunz explained the significance of an event like “Sincerely, Seniors.”

“This is an important and unique opportunity to give thanks to a lot of the people who have really helped us along the way at Colgate,” Kunz said. “Our class has done a lot as seniors, but it’s really important to look back and thank those who have contributed to our successes over the years. I see this as a way to recognize those people who helped us when we’ve needed help and guided us when we needed it, and just have a great night together.”

The event was sponsored by the 2019 Class Council, the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement and the Office of Annual Giving.

Contact Wynter Schnell at [email protected]