Abraham Lincoln statue on Carthage College?s campus.
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Carthage graduates from the Class of 2024 celebrated with bubbles during Commencement weekend May...


As the Class of 2024 crossed the finish line, Carthage cheered on more than 600 new graduates during the College’s weekend-long Commencement events May 17-19.

The festivities — attended by more than 3,500 people — offered an especially joyous celebration for this unique group of graduates, many of whom missed their high school graduations four years ago due to the pandemic.

Speakers mark momentous occasion

The large group celebration took place Friday evening in A.F. Siebert Chapel, where speakers added their own congratulatory messages to the bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients whose years of effort paid off.

As the winner of the Distinguished Senior Award, Grace Chapa ’24 delivered a heartfelt senior class address.

As the winner of the Distinguished Senior Award, Grace Chapa ?24 delivered the senior class addre... As the winner of the Distinguished Senior Award, Grace Chapa ’24 delivered the senior class address at Commencement on May 17. “Today our family and friends see the finished piece of artwork that we have created over the last four years. What many don’t see are the many brushstrokes that went into this moment,” she said. “I recognize the adversity that we have overcome to get to this point, and I am proud of us.”

Selected by graduating seniors, nursing professor Becky Swambar delivered the faculty address. Based on her own interactions with students, she predicted big things ahead for the Class of 2024.

“As you journey beyond these classrooms and out into the world, remember the faith, hope, love, laughter, and resilience that brought you here to graduation night,” she said, imploring them to “bring all of those things into your daily lives, homes and workplaces.”

Earlier in the day, Carthage held a moving Baccalaureate worship service in the chapel. The Rev. Guy Nave, a renowned professor of religion at Luther College, was the guest speaker.

Distinctive procession provides personal touch 

Graduates and their guests put their dance moves to use in a uniquely Carthage red carpet process... Graduates and their guests put their dance moves to use in a uniquely Carthage red carpet procession May 18 and 19. The celebratory weekend also featured Carthage’s signature red carpet procession. At assigned times on Saturday or Sunday, each of the new graduates and their entourage processed along a festively decorated route through campus buildings that culminated in the chapel with an individual stage walk. 

Many faculty and staff, who have developed personal relationships with the graduates, volunteer at stations throughout the procession to offer personal congratulations, meet family members and cheer on the classmates as they take the next step to become Carthage alumni.

Families raved about the unique format. Unlike the standard graduation ceremonies at most colleges, where graduates’ names are read in rapid succession while relatives watch from a distance, Carthage’s personalized event gives everyone a front-row seat for the long-awaited moment.

Some of the individual cheering sections swelled to 20 people, as supporters savored the moment their sons, daughters, grandchildren, and classmates received their prestigious Carthage diploma from Carthage President John Swallow. Across the street, many of the graduates signed their names on Kissing Rock — a popular campus tradition.

Special honorees

Two other loyal Carthaginians were honored during Commencement weekend for their achievements and service:

  • Evelyn Ellenberger Bennett ’85 accepted the Distinguished Alumni Award. She thrived in a 31-year career at William Frick and Company, including the last eight as co-owner and vice president. 
  • Aldo Madrigrano received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. As CEO and co-owner, he grew Beer Capitol Distributing Inc. into the largest beer distributor in Wisconsin.

Congratulations to all of the graduates and honorees!

More than 600 members of the Class of 2024 took part in Carthage's weekend-long Commencement acti...

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