Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Diane Leshefsky Troderman's remarks

Posted on May 18, 2013


Thank you, Dr. Crutcher, trustees, honorary members, Class of 2013, family, and friends. And especially, hold our scarves, Class of '63. Stand up. Yay!

I don't know what you were like when you first came to this campus, but I can remember standing outside of Metcalf and looking at those old women that returned to the campus. Never going to be me. Well, here we are. We made it. But my sister Karen, who is here—Karen, where are you?—she told me the cutest story. She said, "You don't have to worry about a thing."

She went for her picture to be taken. She is on the banking board. She said, "I don't like having my picture taken." He said, "You're going to love this." And he showed her the digital workings. He said, "You want that removed?" Gone. She said, "What about my crow’s feet?" Gone. He said, "Would you like your cheekbones a little bit higher?" Perfect. So, we'll never have to look like those "old women," who were probably younger than we are now.

So I think you realize at this point I have been thinking a lot of age and legacy. It's important, with our 50th reunion class always in mind. I know that we have a goal. We had a goal. It's $500,000 that we wanted to raise. We are very, very close to that. And there's still time to finish the small gap.

Taking the time to think about one's legacy is really more of a wake up call to examine how one lives, really lives, one's life. Because as Scott Fithian, a young entrepreneur, who died when he was only 40 years old said, "Legacy is much more about how one lives in this world than how one leaves it."

Rattling around in my brain is the chorus from the musical Rent. 525,600 minutes. That's the count for a year's worth of minutes. What is the count for 50 years? Not in minutes, but rather in time well spent? Did we treasure the moments we connected with others? Did we carve out sacred space? Did we answer a call for help? Did we find our community? Did we put faith in the future, not only for ourselves and our families, but also for the institutions we love?

Our presence here today is validating Wheaton's future. Your resources are secure in that future, acknowledging what really counts. We spent our four years on this campus being prepared for a world that hadn't been created yet. We are the benefactors of a great education, because Wheaton believes in educating the whole person. We left Wheaton with a sense of expectation, curiosity and confidence, because she gave us the tools to forge ahead. This was quite a gift. As our motto says, "So that we may have life and live it abundantly."

What does it mean to live abundantly? I believe it means being grateful for what one has, and thankful for what one has been given, so that sharing one's resources with others becomes not only our greatest joy but also a way of life. We are on this earth for such a short time, a fraction of a millisecond in the grand scheme of things.

We owe it to the next generation, and the many generations thereafter, to continue this gift giving so that "they may have life and live it abundantly."

That's you, Class of 2013, our wish for you. It makes us all not only better citizens of the world, but also better parents and grandparents if we are so lucky.

In the end, what really counts, I think as Patricia said, is giving back or paying it forward.

As a proudly Jewish woman who had the good fortune to attend Wheaton College on a scholarship in the '60s, I feel blessed to be here with all of you today, accepting with great humility the honor the Board of Trustees has bestowed upon me. It is a privilege to be here on the same stage as Patricia Flaherty and Judge Nancy Gertner, two extremely remarkable and talented women. Thank you. And thank all of you. And thank you, Class of '63, for starting the journey with me 50 years ago, and being here today as we celebrate Wheaton's past and Wheaton's future. Thank you.

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