On Sunday, May 20, 2018, Franklin University Switzerland held its 48th Annual Commencement Ceremony at the Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano. Trustees, faculty, staff, families, and friends celebrated the graduation of the class of 2018.

The celebratory atmosphere was highlighted by speeches from both the Keynote Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients, Richard J. Renaud and Sheikh Hussein Al-Banawi, but this year the audience was treated to an amazing farewell performance of this year’s Valedictorian – Carly Jean Seedall, from Portland, Oregon, who, instead of reciting her speech, decided to “Franklinize” the lyrics of the song I Lived by OneRepublic, with the help of fellow graduate Krystian Wahl on guitar.

“I will sing my speech for you now,” she said in a bittersweet tone, “if you can, think about those you have learned from at Franklin who taught you to be passionate, to explore the world, and to smile more often. Today, I encourage you to let your Franklin family know how much they mean to you. Tomorrow, when you lock up your room, drive away from Sorengo, or fly so high above the Alps that they disappear from view, think of how you can use those lessons and memories to overcome the challenges you will undoubtedly face. Congrats class of 2018 - we made it to the finish line!”

When reflecting on her time at Franklin, she realized that the most important lessons learned during her university experience “have come from the individuals I have encountered here. My fellow students, professors, and staff taught me to face global challenges with openness, positivity, and bravery.” One recent example occurred during her academic travel with Professor Armando Zanecchia to South Africa. “While in Swaziland, our class was taken on a ‘light walk’ which turned out to be a very steep climb up the second largest rock in Swaziland. Despite initial hesitation, lots of sweat, and a very scary ascent, nearly all of our class made it to the top of the rock. Instead of feeling angry that we were misinformed about the hike, we cheered each other on and gave each other a hand. To me, this exemplified true Franklin spirit.”

This summer, Carly will travel to Tajikistan to work as a resident director for U.S.-funded language immersion scholarship program. She will mentor and lead a group of U.S. high school students seeking to learn the Persian language. After spending several months there, she is considering several graduate programs for linguistics.

Congratulations once again Carly and all our 2018 graduates!