As the fall semester comes to a close, one of the more bittersweet events is arriving. December graduation is upon us, and this year Houghton College has a sizeable group graduating at this time. According to the Registrar’s office, forty-two students will be ending their Houghton career this December. Coming from a variety of disciplines, with the biggest being in the math and science field with ten graduates. This is followed by education and business/management who have seven graduates apiece, and over half of the students graduating are receiving a Bachelor’s of Science. December graduates will meet in the home of President Shirley Mullen on December 9th to celebrate their accomplishment and to have a small ceremony to commemorate the occasion.
There are a variety of reasons that December graduation makes sense for a number of students. For graduating communications and political science major Megan Fisher, she saw no reason not to graduate in December with requirements complete and the option to save thousands of dollars in funds. When looking back at her time at Houghton, Fisher said that “Houghton prepared me and any feeling of unpreparedness has to do with my own self-preparedness.” She also reflected on the genuine relationships she made here and that she felt a sense of satisfaction in living by the higher moral standard in living here. Fisher is excited to embark on her next journey after leaving Houghton, obtaining a job and living life even more independently. She will be back to walk in May.
However, some stories are more complex for December grads. Biochemistry major Mikey Hardy started in Houghton fall semester of 2011. He loved his first year at Houghton but had to leave due to financial difficulties. Hardy came back in Spring 2015 to accomplish his goal of finishing college, especially at the one he fell in love with three and a half years prior. He fell right back into life here at Houghton, and actually was remembered by his advisor, Dr. Torracca, who had taught him General Chemistry his first year at Houghton. Hardy, like Fisher, highlighted the great people and great faculty at Houghton, especially the one-on-one time he got here. Part of the reason Hardy was able to finish, despite his financial difficulties, was by becoming a resident assistant at Rothenbuhler Hall for two years, a huge blessing and great opportunity for him, and another highlight of his time here. He also, incredibly enough, was able to finish his degree in eight semesters, just like the traditional student. There is one thing that Hardy would like to mention about the life of a December graduate and it’s this: “December grads have to make an awkward choice to either get the ceremony done and come back to college or start life and come back to graduation.”
While these are only two of the many stories that December graduates have of their time here at Houghton, they exemplify the different paths students take and how each path ends accomplishing the same goal. Of the December graduates, many are united in expressing their gratitude in the exemplary faculty and staff here at Houghton and the lasting friendships they made. It’s a bittersweet time for those moving on and for those staying back, and it’s exciting to see what these new graduates will do moving forward.