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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

Student Government Association Commencement Address 2020

Rosalie Irene Toupin ’20, Student Government Association President

Rosalie Toupin


Watch on Facebook: Rosalie Toupin’s remarks start at 28:28

I’d like to first extend a virtual welcome and hello to my fellow members of the class of 2020 and their loved ones. I am, of course, disappointed that we are not gathered together in the quad today, but I am grateful for one last chance to connect with you all as current Smithies.

I would like to start off by sharing a short poem by Rupi Kaur that has helped me these past few weeks. I have adjusted it a touch to better apply to us, but the message still rings true: I stand on the sacrifices of a million Smithies before me, thinking ​what can I do to make this mountain taller so the Smithies after me can see farther—legacy.

The class of 2020 already has a strong legacy. It’s a legacy of passion, of dedication and of resilience: We started our Smith experience with the 2016 election and now continue through this global pandemic.

From here, the class of 2020 only has room to grow. Just think about the seniors we share this day with today. The engineers. The activists. The artists, scientists, historians, teachers and leaders. Each and every one of us is a part of not only our legacy as the class of 2020, but of Smithies of the past, present and future.

The other day, I was talking with a Smithie from the class of 1991, and she said something that really stuck with me. She said, “The greatest value of Smith is not the four years on campus—it’s what comes after.”

We didn’t get a full four years, but I think we still had a pretty great three and three-quarters. I look back and think of our first-year Convocation, chanting together and ringing in the school year. I think of running around campus with my friends on Julia Child Day, hunting out the last few crème brûlées. And of pretending to pick apples on Mountain Day when really just having a mini photoshoot.

I think about listening to Laverne Cox, Rachel Maddow, Roxanne Gay, Tan France and so many other incredible speakers in JMG. And of those first few warm days after winter when the campus was suddenly alive with sunbathers, Frisbee players and happy Smithies.

I have loved being a Smith student these past four years and I am forever grateful for all the experiences and opportunities I have enjoyed. But I must say, I’m pretty excited to become a Smith alum. To go out into the world and proudly tell people I graduated from Smith College. To see what is in store for me, what you all accomplish and to help lift the future generations of Smithies into forming their own legacy.

Lastly, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for being a part of these four unforgettable years with me. It’s been a wild ride to say the least, but I’ve really enjoyed sharing it with the class of 2020. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again at some point and making new memories together at our forever home of Smith College.

Congratulations, class of 2020. It’s not quite what we imagined, but we’re here and there is much more to come. I am wishing each and every one of you good health and good luck with what comes next.