Meghan Gallagher Represents Class of 2019 as Commencement Speaker

The LALACS major from Chanhassen, Minn. will deliver the commencement address on Saturday, June 1 at Hollingsworth Field.
Posted on May 29th, 2019 by

Meghan Gallagher '19

Growing up, Meghan Gallagher heard a lot about the Gustavus Adolphus College community from her mother, who graduated in 1990. This Saturday, Gallagher will recount her own experiences on campus as she represents the Gustavus Class of 2019 as this year’s commencement speaker.

“My mom talked about Gustavus my whole life—how special it was to her,” Gallagher recalled. “Seeing her passion for the community was inspiring, and when I visited in high school, I saw it firsthand.”

The Chanhassen, Minn. native and Minnetonka High School alumna will graduate with a major in Latin American, Latina/o, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS) and a minor in Spanish. During her time at Gustavus, she has been involved as a member of the Campus Activities Board, Colleges Against Cancer, Hall Council, Prepare, and Proclaim. In addition, Gallagher worked as a peer career adviser in the Center for Career Development, volunteered through the Language Buddies program to work with Saint Peter youth, and studied away in Alicante, Spain, in the fall of 2017.

“I took a class called Globalization with professor Suzanne Wilson that explored the impacts of tourism, differences in economic class, and other factors at play in cultures and countries outside of the USA,” Gallagher said. “We’re so privileged to learn at a place like Gustavus that I feel like we have a responsibility to use our education in a global context.”

The study away course was a transformative educational experience, reinforcing Gallagher’s love of the Spanish-speaking world and the opportunities it provides for intercultural and interdisciplinary learning.

“Through my LALACS classes, I’ve learned not only how diverse the world is, but also how diverse the United States is,” Gallagher said, a realization that galvanized her decision to work in a non-profit setting after graduation. She’ll move to Provo, Utah, this summer to serve in an AmeriCorps position with United Way of Utah County. Her work will provide free tax guidance and support for low and moderate income individuals and families, especially those whose first language is Spanish.

“Studying the liberal arts and deepening my intercultural understanding has opened my mind and my heart to the conditions that some people are born into,” she continued. “It’s really easy to put people in a box, but every person has a story. The world needs more love and empathy.”

Her commencement address will focus on the supportive nature of the Gustavus community, a warm network that buoyed Gallagher when she had a tough semester while readjusting to the balance of academics and her many campus involvements after returning from Spain.

“The main thing I’m trying to get across is my sense of gratitude for everything that Gustavus is. I’m so inspired and uplifted by my peers and I want to pay homage to the professors and staff who helped so much throughout my time on campus,” she said.

“I’ve always felt surrounded by community here, and I want to help people feel welcome the way I feel on campus—to make them feel included, uplifted, and encouraged,” she added. “Wherever I go, Gustavus will always be a part of me.”

The Gustavus Class of 2019 will celebrate commencement on Saturday, June 1 at 1:45 p.m. on Hollingsworth Field. More information is available online.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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