Two Seniors to Give Gustavus Commencement Day AddressesKeely Schuck and Mya Hillerud were chosen to deliver these esteemed speeches.
Posted on May 24th, 2023 by

The Gustavus Class of 2023 Commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 27.

When the Gustavus Class of 2023 graduates on Saturday, May 27, two classmates will serve as honored presenters at the day’s ceremonies.

Keely Schuck will give this year’s Baccalaureate address at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in Christ Chapel, and Mya Hillerud will be the senior class speaker during the Commencement ceremony, which starts at 1:45 p.m. on Hollingsworth Field. Both speakers were chosen by a committee of students, faculty, and staff from a pool of graduating seniors.

Schuck will be graduating with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish. During her time at Gustavus, she moved beyond her south-central Minnesota roots by pursuing opportunities to present research in Pittsburgh, PA; studying abroad in Greece and Italy; and student-teaching in Sotogrande, Spain. She has been an active member of the Peer Assistants; the American Cancer Society (ACS); the Student Educators Association; the Senior Class Legacy Committee; the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority; the honors societies of Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Delta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa; and the Order of Omega. Shuck was also a Pound Pal and volunteered weekly at the local veterinary clinic. After graduation, she will be moving to the Twin Cities to teach first grade, a “dream come true” for a lifelong learner.

Keely Schuck ’23

In her Baccalaureate address, Schuck will discuss the concept of resilience, a quality in which she’s well versed. Schuck lost her father to colon cancer prior to arriving at Gustavus, which fueled her subsequent involvement with the ACS. “Resilience has been my biggest takeaway personally from the life lessons I learned here at Gustavus, and I am grateful for that,” she said. “Finding a community of support around cancer was incredibly valuable for me, and being able to give back to the mission of [the ACS] by raising awareness and thousands of dollars has been meaningful and humbling. On Saturday, I want to reflect upon the countless life lessons I’ve learned—balance, flexibility, perseverance, and cooperation—and upon the resilience that everyone in the Class of 2023 has demonstrated on their own journey to graduation.”

Hillerud majored in Financial Economics and Philosophy and minored in Music. She was the activities chair for the Gustavus Finance Club, a member of the Asian Student Union, and played in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra (GSO) and Gustavus Wind Orchestra (GWO). She also was in the MCS (Math Computer Science and Statistics) Club and an officer in D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) Club. After graduation, she will begin a summer internship with the CEO of Terrybear and volunteer as a team leader for the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival while she explores and applies to MBA programs.

For her Commencement address, Hillerud will talk about philosophical notions of how to live “the good life” and the ways a liberal arts education from Gustavus fits in with that. “Gustavus has helped me become more confident and self assured,” she said. “It’s challenged me academically and prepared me for a career in business and finance. But I think the most valuable thing I’ve gotten in my time here is the opportunity to hear different and diverse perspectives and make deep and lasting connections.”

Mya Hillerud ’23

Both senior speakers expressed how much they’ll miss the many special people they’ve met at Gustavus, and they look forward to nurturing these connections as Gustie alums. “The biggest thing I’ll miss is all the friends I’ve made,” Hillerud said. “I know I will stay in touch with many of them, but this is the only time I’m going to live so close to them all. I am incredibly grateful for all the amazing people I have met here.”

Schuck echoed this and said she appreciates how unique the Gustavus experience is in anyone’s life. “Let me be one voice joining the chorus of alumni before me when I say that I will miss the community of Gustavus the most,” she said. “Never before have I found a place outside of my family home that feels so much like a second home—truly. I have met peers, professors, co-workers, staff members, and friends who have challenged and supported me throughout the last four years, and it is not lost on me how special this is. I will cherish the memories that I have made here, and I will carry the pride of being a Gustie with me as I become an alumna of this remarkable institution.”



Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


Comments are closed.