Greetings from 2019 Class President Tony Galvan

Tony Galvan ’19

Hello! How are we doing today? I am so happy to see us all in one place at least one more time because, wow, you are all amazing, and I am so excited to see us all together here to celebrate our time at Wheaton.

It hasn’t been an easy four years, not in the slightest, and there have been so many changes—in the world, in our lives, and at Wheaton. It’s been through these changes that we have been able to grow. Life brings about these changes, as it does these challenges. And it has taken several of these challenges, conflicts and learning opportunities in order for us to become the wise, experienced and knowledgeable human beings that we are today.

• Watch the video replay of Tony’s speech

We have worked so hard to get here. We each have had so many hurdles thrown our way—the challenges of being a first-generation college student, a student with disabilities, a student of color, a queer student, an international student or any challenge we face due to who we are. We have risen to those challenges, and we have made it, succeeded against any odds. I want to show appreciation for those students who have succeeded regardless of how hard the world around us tries to work against us. I am proud of each and every one of you. You each have grown significantly. You all have brought me so much joy and so much life. From chapel night, our first year, to our last pub night, I have met so many wonderful friends and made connections with you all that will last a lifetime.

Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of your lives, as well. Thank you all for having created a place where people like me can feel comfortable and can find people to accept me. Wheaton helped me find myself, accept who I am and share my light with the world. Before Wheaton, I lived multiple lies. I didn’t have any friends I felt I could trust and open myself up to like you all. Four years ago, when I put my deposit in, I never imagined that the crummy world I lived in would change. You all give my life new joy and new meaning. It is because of the wonderful bundles of light in the Class of 2019 that I have been able to live a happier life. I could never repay you all for having helped me find a new way to love life. Thank you all so much.

I also need to thank the amazing staff and faculty here at Wheaton. You have all worked tirelessly to make sure that we each can make it to the ceremony. And we appreciate you all for doing everything to ensure our success. So many of us would not be here if we hadn’t made those special connections with each of you. I wouldn’t be on the stage specifically if it wasn’t for Rachel Pink, Lyndsey Aguilar, Bridget Lewis and Peony Fhagen. Thank you all for what you have done for me and my class.

Lastly, thank you to the parents, family and friends that are here to help us celebrate. Some of the best support we receive in our lives comes through in the form of unconditional love. And it’s been through all your support that we are here, educated and excited to pursue our dreams. Thank you to our families, friends and parents. Thank you, Mama and Papa. I love you two very much. (They’re going to get so embarrassed.)

But that’s all, everyone. We did it! We slayed the game. We came here on a mission, and we accomplished it. Regardless of how our paths diverge from this day, the one thing that will never change is this wonderful experience that has connected all of us. We have the gift of knowledge and education from this institution that we are going to take to every corner of the world. And I can’t wait to see all the amazing achievements we each make after this day. You are all my superheroes. Thank you for the opportunity serve you as your class president. I love you all. Come visit me in New Rochelle sometime, or Cancun. It’s a fun time, I promise. I will see you all around. Thank you so much.

>> More 2019 Commencement coverage here.