Ben Fetters '05 gave an opening address at the ceremony. He mentioned that this year, the programs second year of operation, the St. Olaf Leadership Program, or Oleaders, has doubled the amount of applications and nominations, and almost quadrupled the number of people who completed the Oleaders program. Fetters introduced President Christopher Thomforde and invited him to share his thoughts with the assembled group.
"I'm delighted to be here," Thomforde said. "This is a great time of the year to be president," he continued mentioning the ceremonies and celebrations he attends to commemorate students at the year's end.
Thomforde started his speech by drawing attention to the third aspect of St. Olafs mission statement: celebration.
Thomforde explained the "crucial importance" of "marking men and women who embody what being a leader is about." Thomforde said that, while there is strategic time, analytical time and adjusting time, leaders should not forget about celebrating their successes.
"We need leaders," Thomforde said, thanking those present for their work as leaders on campus.
Erika Reid '07 then presented the Oleader awards. She defined the Oleader program as a "leadership program designed to give students a well-rounded leadership education." eleven students honored had completed the leadership program, and were given a certificate and thanked individually by Thomforde.
Clare Berke '05 then presented awards to Emerging Leader award applicants, a group which she described as "active and diverse." Emerging Leaders are students in their first or sophomore year who displayed leadership qualities during their time so far at St. Olaf.
Of the 21 applicants who were honored, three students received the Emerging Leader awards: Anne Christianson '07, Nick Anderson '07 and Magdelena Wells '08.
Fetters then announced the 35 applicants for the Established Leader awards, who also received certificates and personal thanks from Thomforde. Established Leaders are members of the junior or senior class who have demonstrated personal growth through leadership during their time at St. Olaf.
"Anyone could get [them]," Fetters said, noting the accomplishments and qualities of the group of juniors and seniors. Out of the group of 35, three students received Established Leader awards: Lily Moua '06, Janine Wetzel '05 and Kristin White '05.
Associate Dean of Students Steve McKelvy then presented the Distinguished Senior Award to recipient Stephanie Walker '05. Walker is a leader in three organizations on campus and was the national Eta Sigma Phi President last year. Walker also organized the Last Lecture series, the bi-annual blood drive and has been editor-in-chief of the Viking Yearbook for the past three years.
When the hour-long celebration was over, Thomforde gave the audience this piece of advice: "In the midst of serious work, take time for a good laugh and a good piece of cake."