Senior Lily Benge Briggs to Speak at 2017 Commencement

The art education major will focus on the Gustavus community, including the opportunities and people that make the College a special place.
Posted on May 25th, 2017 by

Lily Benge Briggs

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Liliana (Lily) Benge Briggs has been selected as the Class of 2017 speaker during the College’s 155th academic year commencement exercises, which will take place on Sunday, May 28 on Hollingsworth Field. Benge Briggs was selected by a committee of students, faculty, and staff from a pool of graduating seniors.

“I am incredibly honored to be speaking at commencement,” the Grantsburg, Wis. native said. “Gustavus has provided me with countless opportunities to learn and grow, and this community of warm and welcoming people has become my home.”

During her four years on the hill, Benge Briggs has been involved in numerous activities outside the classroom, serving as a Gustie Greeter orientation leader, member of the LineUs Improv troupe, and creator of Arb Scouts, a student organization dedicated to the use and preservation of the Linnaeus Arboretum. In addition to working in the Gustavus admission office as a student tour guide and office assistant, she also sang in the Gustavus Choir and was an intern at Big Hill Farm, a sustainable, student-run campus farm that provides produce to the Gustavus dining service.

“Lily’s kindness and generosity shine whether she’s in the spotlight of the stage or working in the soil,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission Richard Aune ’81 said. “Like so many Gusties, she’s a passionate and engaged young person who will make a difference in the world.”

Benge Briggs, who will split her student teaching between Minnesota and Spain next fall, is excited to share the lessons she’s learned at Gustavus with the next generation of students.

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned is the importance of community,” she said. “As I begin my career as a teacher, I think the importance of building relationships, trying new things, and being connected are what I’m most excited to share with my future students.”

That sense of community that she found at Gustavus will be among Benge Briggs’ main messages on Sunday.

“In the last week I’ve really been able to reflect on my Gustavus experience and how all my classmates, friends, professors, and mentors have shaped who I have become,” she said. “I can’t wait to take my experiences and memories with me out into the world.”

To learn more about the weekend’s events, visit the Gustavus Commencement website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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