The commencement speaker at Whitworth College’s graduation ceremonies Sunday clearly had done her homework.
She knew the students’ names. She knew their fears and memories. She knew she’d miss them.
Linda Hunt had researched her speech plenty - for the 12 years she has been teaching at Whitworth.
For the first time in the college’s history, a faculty member gave the commencement address .
Hunt, associate professor of English and director of composition, told almost 500 seniors and graduate students to live each day to its fullest.
The students should spend more time in soul space instead of media space, Hunt said.
“One is doomed - or blessed - with a life of uncertainty,” she said. “No one can guarantee your future.”
Hunt also wove her own experience with breast cancer into her speech to almost 3,000 people at the Opera House.
Every chair was filled. Graduation programs were scarce. People stood at the ends of aisles to watch friends or relatives mark the end of their college years.
The graduating students sat on the stage. Their diplomas rested on two tables below.
Hunt held a kaleidoscope in her hand and looked through it. She turned the scope.
“When we hit challenging circumstances, we should try the kaleidoscope test,” said Hunt, adding that turning to a thanksgiving lens can give a new perspective to problems.
Hunt said she had spoken with a group of graduating seniors about uncertainties, memories and choices.
Students had remembered dealing with death, with the firestorm that swept through north of campus, with new buildings that made it seem like the campus was permanently under construction.
They talked about water polo, ultimate Frisbee, midnight streaking, cyberspace, the World Wide Web.
Hunt said students repeatedly were asked, “What are you going to do with your life?”
Instead, Hunt said, students should ask, “Who am I going to be?”