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President Chopp's Introduction of Nolan Gear '12

Rebecca Chopp and Nolan Gear '12

Before I introduce today's student speaker, I'd like to ask that you join me in a moment of silence honoring the memory of Ravi Thackurdeen from the Class of 2014, who died suddenly less than one month ago while studying abroad. Ravi's brother, Sean, graduates today with the Class of 2012 and is joined by a number of family members including their parents. Please join me now in honoring Ravi, on behalf of the many family members, friends, and community members who continue to miss him so deeply.

Now I am pleased to introduce you to Nolan Gear, who was chosen by his classmates to be their senior class speaker.

Nolan graduates today with an honors major in English literature and an honors minor in film/media studies. He plans to spend next year in France as an assistant teacher of English to middle-school children and his longer-range plan has him completing a Ph.D., more than likely in English literature, with the intention of teaching at the college level.

Nolan has had a rich and full extracurricular life here at the College, including filling the role of section leader and second violinist in the Swarthmore College Orchestra and gracing the stage as lead actor in a variety of plays. This spring, he was co-chair and logistical coordinator of the annual Swarthmore Queer/Trans Conference.

Other elements of Nolan's good citizenship - living the full life of a Swarthmore student - include his service as a writing associate with the additional assignment of being the Writing Center's French-language specialist; he also served as a WAIT (writing associates in training) mentor. Last summer, funded by a Lang Summer Initiative Grant, he was a research assistant for Professor Sunka Simon, studying the development of Scandinavian art house cinema, particularly the films of Ingmar Bergman. He extended his investigation into a broader interrogation of gender politics and submitted the results of his research as a culminating paper to the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Nolan's contributions to the campus community, combining his intellectual acuity and his artistic and creative talents with a gift for teaching and mentoring in the Writing Associates Program across a variety of fields, mark him as a quintessential devotee of the best that the liberal arts have to offer. We are confident that his unfolding career as a scholar will make us proud that today he becomes a Swarthmore alumnus.

I am delighted to welcome him to the podium as the speaker for the Class of 2012. Nolan!