Coming full circle: Hansen’s speech rounds off seniors’ four years at Linfield

In late August 2007, Dave Hansen, professor of economics and dean of students emeritus, welcomed the class of 2011 to Linfield with an orientation speech in the Oak Grove. Four years later, Hansen will give the Commencement speech for the class of 2011, and bring its time at Linfield to a close in that same spot on the Oak Grove.

On their first day in 2007, the class of 2011 listened to Hansen speak of the future. He asked students who they were and where they had come from, and then asked them to look forward to their four years at Linfield and to Commencement day. He asked them to imagine what he would say about them on their Commencement day and how they would change in their four years on campus. Hansen asked them to consider the development that they would undergo throughout their stay at Linfield and to consider the challenges and opportunities that would await them.

On May 29 Hansen will again ask the students to look into the future, but also into the past. He will ask them what developments they have made, what challenges they have faced and what victories they have had. He will ask them to imagine what lies ahead in five or 10 years and how they will further grow outside of Linfield’s campus. Hansen’s Commencement speech is intended to be a companion to the speech he gave August 2007, and will focus on many of the same elements.

Most importantly, Hansen said he would focus on the nature of the celebration. He said that Commencement is an important day to celebrate for students and their families and that it is the beginning of a new part of their lives. Hansen would like students to focus on the celebration.

“I think what I do want them to remember is the feeling of joy and elation,” Hansen said. “I want them to take away a sense of joy.”

Hansen also said he is happy to be given the responsibility and honor of giving the Commencement speech. He said he could not remember his own Commencement speech, but, instead, remembered the celebration of the day, and he would like to focus on that joy.

“I suspect the day will be a memorable day in their life whether I speak at all,” said Hansen.

Although he will not add any individual memories within his speech, Hansen said he has had many memorable moments, and watching his students graduate will be an emotional occasion for him. He said that he will fondly remember the students whom he has watched grow and thrive as they receive their diplomas.

Marissa Cole/News editor
Marissa Cole can be reached at

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