Christine Kim '17

At the inauguration of President Valerie Smith, Student Government Co-President Christine Kim '17 offered greetings on behalf of the students.

Good Afternoon! My name is Christine Kim, Class of 2017, and I am currently Student Body Co-President, along with Steve, who is here with me. I am so grateful to be standing here, to officially welcome President Valerie Smith to Swarthmore College! Welcome!

It feels very surreal for me, to be here in this moment, especially since I had the privilege to provide student input as part of the Inauguration Steering Committee. To be part of this historic occasion has been such an honor, and when I was asked to share my welcome address to celebrate President Smith, it prompted me to think about my Swarthmore experience so far.

The first time I was asked to answer, “Why Swarthmore?” was during my senior year in high school, as I sat down in front of my computer to type out the supplemental essay for my college application. Little did I know how that question would be answered or will continue to be answered as I finish my last two years at this institution.

Now that I’ve finished four semesters of college, I am able to answer, in part, the question, “Why Swarthmore?” During my freshman and sophomore year, my experiences have been quite unexpected and in retrospect, quite positive. Unexpected because I’ve transformed so much since my first day at orientation, and positive because I’ve realized my time here has shaped who I am. So, I started to ask myself, “What was the influence?”    

For now, I would like to think that the key to my transformation is due to the relationships I have formed at this place, relationships that contribute to the Swarthmore community; my community; your community; our community. Each and every person I have interacted with, here, has helped me to figure out who I used to be, who I am now, and who I want to be. As Swarthmore College honors President Valerie Smith as she takes the helm to direct this community, I hope that I am able to echo the sentiments of the student body when I say, “Welcome to our community. Welcome home!”