Stephen Sekula '17

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

Thank you, Christine, and good afternoon to everyone here. My name is Steve Sekula and I’m the other student body co-president. I’d like to take this time to share a short story with you all.    

Just last week, I was walking down to Ware Pool on this real nice day about to step in for swim practice when I thought to myself, “wow, I love Swarthmore.”

This kind of shocked me. I had to check to make sure this feeling was, in fact, genuine. And sure enough, it was.

I think this came as such a surprise because this love of Swarthmore isn’t something I took the time to think about my first two years here, and it definitely isn’t something that grew over night.

Let’s be honest, if it’s not academics, there’s pretty much always something causing discomfort in each and every one of our lives, and in such an intimate setting like Swarthmore, it all gets amplified.

If we don't realize how great this place is, it’s because we want things to get better. We want things to change.

We call this inauguration Changing Lives, Changing the World because this is the expectation we have for all individuals who contribute to and come out of Swarthmore.

And it’s the reason why we take such great care when selecting a president of the college.

I mention all of this to welcome President Smith.

Val, we chose you. You’re at Swarthmore now and you’re going to have to deal with all of our quirks, all of our opinions, a bunch of enthusiasm, and plenty of complaints.

At times there’ll be a lot of hurt, and even more often - a lot of passion. While I’m speaking from only two years of experience, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to notice how much You love Swarthmore every day, but on all the days that you do, it’ll be worth more than you can imagine.

On behalf of the student body, we are so excited to have you here as the 15th president of our college. You’ve already brought new life to campus, and I’m looking forward to seeing the change you’ll inspire.