‘You Carry All of Us With You’: Congratulations, Class of 2022

President Quillen shaking student's hand on stage at Class of 2022 Commencement

Davidson College’s Class of 2022, who supported and lifted each other up through the uncertainties of a world-wide pandemic, gathered on Sunday to commemorate the end of their undergraduate days.

Members of the Davidson College class of 2022 and their families share their thoughts on this special day.

Despite iffy weather reports, the sun held up as the college bade farewell to 454 students at its 185th commencement. Families and friends who could be there sat beneath a canopy of trees on the front lawn, while others around the world watched virtually through a livestream.

“We are so happy that we are here together outside on this beautiful campus on this glorious day,” college President Carol E. Quillen told graduates. “You leave a formidable legacy. Davidson College is stronger, more courageous, wiser and more humane because you were here.”

The 454 graduates come from 18 countries, 37 American states and Washington, D.C. Their most popular majors were economics (77), political science (62), biology (60) and psychology (59).

Applause erupted for a new addition to the class of 2022—in absentia graduate, and Wildcats and Golden State Warriors point guard, Stephen Curry. Curry completed graduation requirements this spring, 13 years after leaving Davidson to play in the NBA.

Eight graduated with the highest Latin honors of Summa Cum Laude; 160 as Magna Cum Laude and 141 as Cum Laude.

The class of 2022 spent their college years researching disease and dissecting public policy. They started businesses, registered voters and taught and mentored at-risk children. Members helped launch the College Crisis Initiative (C21), a pandemic-inspired and now sought-after resource about higher education institutions’ responses to crisis situations.

Now they’re taking their talents into the world.

They’ll seek cures for disease, combat climate change and serve their communities. Their ranks include future doctors, teachers, economists and IT experts. Some will enter graduate programs and embark on domestic and international fellowships; others will join the work force right away.

The class includes seven John M. Belk Scholars, bringing the Belk alumni total to 149. The Belk Scholarship recognizes students for leadership, creativity, compassion, integrity, intellectual curiosity and outstanding academic achievement. The award, which covers tuition, fees, room, board and two $3,000 stipends for special study abroad, is one of the country’s most competitive and generous undergraduate scholarships.

“You’re inheriting a troubled, polarized world with problems that may seem insurmountable,” Quillen told graduates. She urged them to connect with people with differing viewpoints and work toward healing divisions.

“Every person is more than one position, more than one cause, more than one attribute,” she said. “We are each so much more than one thing.

“The world is vast, it is beautiful, and it is all before you. It is not a safe or simple place. If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, we’ve learned that. Out there, the future weighs heavily, conflict abounds…and our hopes are elusive. The world is complicated.”

From navigating a toxic political climate to fighting climate change to living through the fears, great losses and disappointments of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been an especially challenging time in history, she said.

“Remember the fear, isolation and helplessness because a lot of people live with such feelings every day,” Quillen said. “All human beings feel this way sometimes. If you remember these feelings and how you overcame them, your humane instincts will grow robust. You’ll strive to love this world and the flawed humans in it. You’ll find common ground no one else can see. You will courageously chart a path towards a more just future.

“Don’t be afraid. Believe in this world as a place of abundance, wonder and promise. Trust in a future you can’t yet see. And no matter where your journey takes you, you’re not alone. We love you now, and always. You carry all of us and our love and this special place in you and with you, forever.”

Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award

Students nominate professors for the annual award. The professors will each receive $7,500, and each gets to direct an additional $7,500 to fund a campus project of their choice. This year’s recipients are:

Kimbrough Professor of Mathematics Laurie Heyer: “For your ability to show students the fun and beauty of mathematics and computer science; your ability to inspire them to pursue knowledge and truth, and your extraordinary dedication, enthusiasm, kindness and care.”

Associate Professor of Economics Shyam Gouri Suresh: “For both your brilliance and infectious, contagious enthusiasm for economics, full-time commitment to students and ability to instill in all of your students the desire to explore a discipline beyond class lectures.”

Kimbrough Professor of Mathematics Laurie Heyer accepts the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award

Kimbrough Professor of Mathematics Laurie Heyer accepts the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award during the ceremony.

Gouri Suresh Headshot

Shyam Gouri Suresh, associate professor of economics and recipient of the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards

The awards go to one graduating student and one member of the larger Davidson Community who exemplify the “the fine spiritual qualities practically applied to daily living, usually going to persons who have given unselfish service without due recognition.” 

Chibuike “ChiChi” Odo received the student award:  The psychology major, football player and Watson Fellow plans to become a medical doctor. “He thrives on building relationships and pouring his positivity into the lives around him.” From volunteer work with disadvantaged kids in Davidson to mission trips to Costa Rica, his college years, “foreshadow the massive impact he will make on the world.”

The community member award will be announced at the class of 2020 commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 22.

Additional Coverage

Thirteen Years After Entering NBA, Steph Curry Graduates With the Class of 2022

Watson Fellow ChiChi Odo ’22