Commencement 2019: The Measure of Success

Commencement speaker Steven Van Wyk ’81

Commencement speaker Steven Van Wyk ’81

Commencement speaker Steven Van Wyk ’81 grew up just a few blocks from Central’s campus but found that “hard work gets you places…. It eventually got me to Wall Street, New York City,” where by 2001 at age 43 he was managing director and head of information technology at the financial firm Morgan Stanley, with an office on the 67th floor of Tower Two of the World Trade Center. “I was literally on top of the world,” he says.

That world came crashing down Sept. 11, 2001, when his office was obliterated and seven of his colleagues died in the terrorist attack. After that day, he told the graduates, “all that really mattered was the people…. That is the day that I changed how I measured success. … I came to realize that life is more about what you give than what you receive.” He ended his speech with “I urge you to focus on living lives to serve others if you want to experience the measure of success.”

President Mark Putnam, center, and Associate Professor of Music Gabriel Espinosa congratulate Jeremy Vester ’19 following graduation.

President Mark Putnam, center, and Associate Professor of Music Gabriel Espinosa congratulate Jeremy Vester ’19 following graduation.

THE CLASS OF 2019 BY THE NUMBERS

238 graduates from 17 states completed 28,175 credits and majored in 32 different subjects.

  • 42 double majored
  • 1 triple majored
  • 81 had one minor, 19 had two
  • 30 were children of alumni
  • 4 were twins
  • 87 studied abroad
  • 50 were in eight music groups and ensembles
  • 17 took private music lessons

More than 120 competed in at least one season in an intercollegiate sport and racked up two All-America awards, 33 all-conference honors, six conference team championships and participated in 29 NCAA postseason events. Men’s track and field finished tied for ninth in 2018 and had three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and won three NCAA Division III individual national championships.

President Putnam presents a Distinguished Alumnus Award to Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg ’06.

President Putnam presents a Distinguished Alumnus Award to Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg ’06.

OVERHEARD

“I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class. In fact, that was actually my wife, Sheila.” — Commencement speaker Steve Van Wyk ’81

“At Central you’ve been challenged to be your best. We’ve expected much from you because we know there is no end to what you can accomplish. A liberal arts education at Central is about setting the bar high and pushing yourself to achieve lofty goals. Now, go forth and make a difference in the world.” — President Mark Putnam

Seen on a mortarboard: “Teachers who think they are crazy enough to change the world usually do.”

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