Graduating class of 2016
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A 170-year legacy

Meet the graduating class of '16

By Katherine Yeager | Contributor 

Preliminary statistics from the Senior Exit Survey. (Designed by Matthew Morse.)

Preliminary statistics from the Senior Exit Survey. (Designed by Matthew Morse.)

From Pick-a-Dates to Airband, O-Groups to Senior Seminar, Taylor memories will fly through the 2016 graduates’ brains at lightning speed as they turn their tassels May 21. The preliminary results from senior surveys as well as reflections from students and faculty comprise a snapshot of the graduating class.

According to Vice President for Student Development Skip Trudeau, Habecker will address the class of 2016 as he too prepares for his next step beyond Taylor.

The preliminary results of the Senior Exit Survey (SES) are in. Regarding academics, 79 percent of seniors strongly agreed that their academic major prepared them for graduate study and 82.3 percent of seniors strongly agreed that their major prepared them for their future career choice.

The statistics for leadership development, spiritual growth and residence life were also high. 79.1 percent of seniors strongly agreed that they developed leadership skills at Taylor. 81.1 percent of seniors expressed high satisfaction with their residence hall. 81.6 percent of seniors felt a strong personal sense of belonging on campus.

Senior educational studies major Paige McCourt is preparing to enter the Masters of Higher Education (MAHE) program at Taylor in the 2016-17 academic year. Since she is attending graduate school in the fall and has not solidified her summer plans, said she looks forward to a time to rest and transition into the next phase of her life.

“The past four years feel like a blur as I attempt to reflect on my time at Taylor,” McCourt said. “Graduation approaching is bittersweet as I step into the next season of life and eagerly anticipate everything it will hold, but saying goodbye to the people who have played such an important role in my day-to-day life is harder than I imagined.”

Senior accounting major Kristy Meissner agrees. She is excited to graduate but sad to leave Taylor, her friends and her floor (Second Breuniger), where she is currently a DA. Meissner prepares to return home after graduation; marry her fiancé, senior Sam Hill; move to Denver, Colorado and study for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Feeling ready for life after graduation, senior professional writing major Corrie Thompson says she feels ready for life after graduation but is unsure of what her plans will be. She is spending her last few weeks balancing final projects and time with friends.

“There are so many wonderful people that I’ve gotten to know, so I’m kind of in denial about us all going our separate ways,” Thompson said. “I am kind of sad about leaving here—even if Taylor is tucked into the middle of nowhere—because it’s the people and traditions here that gave us so many opportunities and memories.”

Dean of Students Steve Morley hopes that all graduates will leave Taylor marked by the many lessons learned during their undergraduate years. He hopes the university launches students toward success and that after graduation they will  have a clearer sense of who they are created to be.

“We reference often how these four years are (meant) to dramatically impact the next 40 years,” Morley said. “It is my hope that the next 40, 60, 80 years of our students are dramatically changed for the good by the time they have spent at Taylor.”

Morley said he has seen the class of 2016 grow through businesses launched, challenges confronted and the needs of others advocated. He said he is encouraged that many students have not waited until graduation to start their “real life.”

Morley encouraged graduates to remember that the Taylor community is not exclusively located on the Upland campus or within the Loop. Community and the need for community is everywhere. He encouraged graduates to view and embrace their changing role in the Taylor community, meeting the needs of those around the world where they are equipped.

“Be the peculiar neighbor who knows what it is to value community and initiates that in your building or within your neighborhood,” Morley said. “Be the person within your church who knows what it means to be responsible to one another and help to encourage, confront, serve and advocate. Be the person who notices others, welcomes others into the conversation—recall that there’s always room for one more in the DC—and extends an invitation that values others and is inclusive of others.”

The academic year is coming to a close, but the opportunities for growth are just beginning, for seniors and underclassmen both. The class of 2016 turns the tassel, continuing the legacy of 170 years of leadership, service and lifelong growth.

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