University of Wisconsin–Madison

English Department Graduation Spring 2018

On May 11th, senior English majors, their friends, and families gathered in Elvehjem Hall to celebrate this year’s graduating class. In order to accommodate all of our majors, this year’s ceremony was split into two sessions.

The first ceremony featured speeches by graduating seniors Marian Coker, Erika Gallagher, and Nenad Jakovljevic. In a speech that pitted the world’s numerous (and sometimes problematic) enchantments against the counterspells of English graduates, Jakovljevic ended with a directive to his fellow graduates:

Start casting your spells now, start reaching out now, because tomorrow is now and tomorrow is here.

The two sets of ’18 graduates passed each other on the stairs as the first group filed out and the next group filed in. Graduates Conley Potter, Frances Smith, and Ruiqi Yan shared their words with the audience of the second ceremony. Yan’s speech drew on her experience coming to America with the help of eighteen strangers who wrote letters supporting her to link the English major with empathy:

Without empathy, and without the strength that empathy fosters, I wouldn’t be here, and I do not wish to ever lose that crucial trait which keeps us human. And now, as an English major, I know that I never will.

See the program for the full list of graduates, and future posts sharing  graduation speeches and more pictures.

During a lucky break in the rain, the graduates and their guests dodged puddles on library mall to attend a reception at the Red Gym.

Congratulations to the class of 2018!