Words of Wisdom from Alumni to the Class of 2020

Today, the Class of 2020 enters Lawrenceville’s remarkable Alumni Association, a group of more than 14,000 graduates who have made their marks on the School and beyond. We’re pleased to share the words of wisdom and encouragement these men and women have for the Fifth Form.
Benjamin Franklin Williams IV, Class of 1961
First, a note of congratulations and thanks, because we thousands of Lawrentians have followed your progress, and admired the high standards you have upheld. Good job, young women and men.
You have been told you are graduating into an unprecedented time, and a peculiar peril. I hope you will come to understand that it is both new and normal.
When we graduated in 1961, the Class of 1901 would have been there to celebrate their 60th reunion. They came in the Gilded Age, with new technology and vast untaxed fortunes, and their fathers and grandfathers were veterans of the Civil War, along with my great grandfather. They had never seen an airplane, ridden in an automobile, or seen a movie.
And, typically, we didn't think to go and ask them about life in the 19th century- but their lives ahead of them would be punctuated by two World Wars, and many would lose their lives, and a few miles up the road a ferocious pandemic in 1918 would decimate their generation, with nothing to stop it. And they would see airplanes, and rockets, and men walking on the Moon.
And in our time we graduated into the Cold War, and Senator Barry Goldwater, soon the Republican candidate for President stood at Edith Memorial Chapel and asserted we had rockets accurate enough "to hit the men's room in the Kremlin." And Fidel Castro would speak in the same spot in faulty English about the importance of the youth of America. And two years later had Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba as I buckled my gear at Fort Bragg, locked and loaded to go remove them with the whole world looking at Armageddon.
There was so much more to come, triumph and tragedy. And with it, our hope to make our countries better, fairer, honest, decent.
We got our hands dirty, and our faces bloody along the way, our share of heroes and crooks.
And to a greater extent that we even credit, we did succeed.
And we are counting, you brave young women and men, on you to carry that same ambition. On Down the Field: make our countries better, fairer, once more honest, and decent. Do your best. Make us proud.
Ron Rolfe, Class of 1963 P’21
Congratulations on your graduation. I know you will make us proud. Remember to think of others before yourself. Best of luck in college and beyond. All the best for a successful future.
Mythili Iyer, Class of 2008
Spend the effort and time to stay in touch with your Lville classmates! Especially now that we're all trapped at home I'm so grateful for every time zone-challenged phone call, cross country (or cross global!) flight, and happy hour because it means that I still have my Big Red community with me all these years later.
Camille Richardson, Class of 2010
You are leaving Lawrenceville prepared for any obstacle, adventure and opportunity the world may throw at you. Embrace the unknown and don’t be afraid to seek out support from your Lawrenceville family when the road gets bumpy.
Jessica Vocaturo, Class of 2012
Congratulations Class of 2020! There is no doubt that we are living in challenging and unprecedented times. However, no matter what uncertainties and hardships you are facing in this moment, remember that there is a community of Lawrenceville alumni, teachers, faculty, and peers who are there to support you. Your graduation deserves a very special celebration. Here’s to you!
For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.

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Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.