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Inspiring Words and Memorable Moments: Highlights from Principia College Commencement Weekend

College Commencement weekend kicked off with an inspirational tone on Friday evening. Lessly Amwikato, Spencer Christensen, Matthew Hagenlocher, and Jacob Sablan—who were nominated by their peers to deliver this year’s baccalaureate speeches—shared their experiences and life lessons learned at Principia. Looking forward, Amwikato discussed building confidence and overcoming self-doubt, while Sablan reflected on an unprecedented college career marked by a global pandemic and a rugby national championship. “We remember how we felt,” Sablan poignantly noted.

On Saturday, the senior class gathered again in Cox Auditorium, this time to take their final walk across the stage. President John Williams (C’76) introduced the 2023 commencement speaker, Terese A. Erickson, Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, (RET), USAF. Erickson opened her remarks by discussing  the deeper meaning behind Principia’s colors. Gold stands for purity and blue stands for courage. “You ARE these colors,” Erickson stated, illustrating this point by asking the group of graduates whether they knew what the faculty thought about them. A few laughs erupted as she exclaimed, “They sing your praises! They refer to you as high flyers, problem solvers, leaders. And that you have a great sense of humor.”  Later, Erickson had the class reach under their seats to find a rose. She emphasized how “no bud is the same,” followed by, ”And that’s a good thing.” 

Congratulations class of 2023!



The commencement video streams (commencement, awards ceremony, baccalaureate speeches, international student speeches), can be viewed here.


The following graduates have earned Highest Scholastic Honors:

  • Camille Abadie

  • Michael Robert 

  • Brooke Caroline 

  • Renee Bumbaugh 

  • Spencer Dale Christensen 

  • Hannah Joy Geis

  • Matthew Lenz Hagenlocher 

  • Ariel Elizabeth Hofman 

  • Lindsey Nicole Huffman

  • Kelsie Nicole Huss

  • Kale Avery Ostler

  • Gracie Jean Paul

  • Grace Marie Pécheck 

  • Alexander Francisco Reyes

  • Geena Brooks Richards 

  • Tyler Garen Roberts

  • Robert Brooks Robison II 

  • Heather Rachel Savoye

  • Patrick William Sherman 

  • Hannah Leigh Switzer


The following graduates have earned Scholastic Honors:

  • Lessly Khayanga Amwikato

  •  Nathan James Brantingham 

  • Samantha Marie Cass

  • Camille Grace Clarke

  • Delwys Nyuiele Glokpor

  • William Waldemar Johnson 

  • Jacob Richard Kampf

  • Luke Taylor Nutwell 

  • Garrett Jackson Sheets 

  • Kaija Soleil Ufert