Four years ago they walked in through the St. Thomas Arches. On Friday, the St. Thomas Class of 2019 walked out through the Arches, symbolizing their transition from students to alumni and kicking off commencement weekend.
Hundreds of parents, family, friends and St. Thomas community members lined the sidewalk to cheer the purple-clad students on as they walked from the lower quad toward Summit Avenue.
The Newsroom was on hand to talk with people about the emotions of the symbolic event, both for those students walking and for those gathered to celebrate them.
"Four years ago I also told you that by marching through these Arches you were joining a family, the St. Thomas family. Marching out today is not the end of that. Not even close. Today marks you joining our alumni, nearly 110,000 strong." - President Julie Sullivan
"We should all be proud of the degrees we will receive tomorrow. ... Let us build on the friendships we’ve created and the lessons we’ve learned within the Arches." - Class president Sadie Buckel
“He’s developed independence – he’s grown leaps and bounds in that department since he’s come to school here. We thought of the scared, little guy we left here three years ago and now a very involved, active and engaged young man that’s graduating. It makes you feel good because that’s what has to happen. He really embraced all the opportunities he found at St. Thomas and really grew through that experience.”- Craig Tiernan, attending with Kris Tiernan from Dubuque, Iowa, to celebrate their son, Keghan
"I had a lot of good memories here. This place is very important to me. I grew a lot here. I don’t think I would have grown as much had I been so close to home. Being away from home really pushed me in a lot of different ways. I realized I would have to figure out a lot of stuff on my own." - Strategic communication major Hayden Brockwell, who is from South Florida and plans to return there after graduation
“I actually graduated in 1991, so it’s a bit of a return for me. I’m very proud of my son. It’s a big deal for our family. He’s the first of my children to graduate from college – it’s a big one. I’m looking forward to seeing his roommates, catching up with him and wishing him well in his new life adventures. He’s already got a job and he’s very excited to start that. We didn’t do March Through the Arches when I was here. It’s a really nice tradition." - Patrick Toner, father of communication journalism major Joseph Toner, here from Madison, Wisconsin.
“It went by really fast. I like how small of a community St. Thomas is. It was nice to be able to say ‘hi’ to a lot of people around campus. I chose engineering because I wanted to challenge myself and help people, too." - Engineering major Kelly Mallon
“I’m feeling relieved. I’m very proud of him and happy it’s over for him, too. It took a lot of work to get here, but he did it. We visited a few schools, but knew this was the right choice the day we walked on campus. We haven’t regretted it a day since. He did an internship and that has turned into a permanent job." - Brenda Fahey, mother of business accounting major Kyle Fahey
“I think it’s bittersweet. It’s just hitting me now, the day before graduation. My experience was unimaginable – coming from high school I had no idea what to expect. I’m an only child, so no older siblings could tell me what it’s like. It’s been amazing. I think that the people I found here will have changed my life for the better.” - Psychology major Shonni Krengel, who will be going to New York University to enter a graduate psychology program
“My time at St. Thomas has been amazing … the best four years of my life. ... March Through the Arches is such a beautiful tradition. It’s amazing seeing all the people – how many people came in and then all the people that are going out.” - Political science and Spanish major Jenny Ramirez, who will be working as a paralegal at an immigration law firm, Hart Law Office, after graduation
“I’m glad that I’m able to have the opening of March Through the Arches and close with the March Through the Arches as well. It’s a symbolic closure to my time here at St. Thomas.” - Marketing management major Aaron Kubiak, who will be working at RBC Wealth Management in digital marketing after graduation
"Just how fast this goes; it seems like yesterday we were here watching her walk into the Arches. She has had an amazing journey. The opportunities she had when she was here were incredible." - Jeff Naig, here with his wife, Tammy, to support their daughter, Alexa
“I was an out-of-state student from Wisconsin. I remember coming here four years ago and just feeling completely welcomed. Ever since then, I have made my network in the Twin Cities.” - Accounting and finance major Ian Corbett, who will be working for PwC after graduation