Wilmington resident Jordan Snarr takes a selfie with friends, from the left, Julia Bystrom, Alana Smith-Dillow and A.J. Houseman. Jordan graduated magna cum laude and was recognized as a participant in the Honors Program, Wilmington Institute for Stewardship & Engagement (WISE) and Peace Corps Prep program. She also was lauded as a Green Key Honor Society member and for earning a Quaker Impact Award.

Submitted photos

Tara E. Durbin challenged the Class of 2023 to live “comfortably uncomfortable,” as developing a mindset of growth will keep them moving forward and outside of their comfort zone. “Don’t allow yourself the regret of looking back with a case of ‘I should haves’ or ‘I could haves’ — or even the ‘I wonders.’

“Instead, as you begin a new and exciting chapter in your life, I invite you to fully live, seizing each opportunity, remembering it likely won’t present itself again.”

Durbin, Class of 2001, served as keynote speaker at Wilmington College’s 147th Commencement Saturday (May 13). She is Farm Credit Mid-America’s executive staff as its chief lending officer for agriculture.

The College conferred 262 degrees including the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Organizational Leadership and Master of Science in Athletic Training.

Durbin worked her way from student intern to senior vice president to the top executive circle of Farm Credit Mid-America, a $37 billion financial services cooperative. She represents the modern-day prominence of women in the agriculture industry. In addition to living “comfortably uncomfortable,” she urged the graduates to stay connected with their College and develop social and professional connections that will not only enhance their lives but potentially serve to advance their careers.

“It’s tempting to think success is all about action and achievement,” she added. “I’ve found that success is about influence and relationships. Whom you influence and how you influence will be your ultimate legacy.”

Finally, Durbin called upon the graduates to develop a strong work ethic. “Work hard and put your time in. Take the entry-level position. Learn the ropes and know success doesn’t come overnight,” she said. “Down the road, you will earn more trust and respect as an employee, a peer and a leader when others know you’ve walked in their shoes throughout your career.”

Durbin said the Class of 2023 should feel confident that their experiences at Wilmington College have prepared them for their next step forward in life.

“The faculty and staff have invested in each of you through their time, dedication, passion and commitment to each of your success,” she concluded. “It is my hope that, as you leave campus, you feel inspired with optimism, renewed energy and curiosity to dive into your next chapter, remembering the power of perseverance.

“You can do hard things,” she added. “The world is counting on you to choose the challenge. Go! Be bold, be courageous and most of all be happy!”

Also, at the ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was presented posthumously to Sidney Mishkin, Class of 1959, for the time, talent and treasure he selflessly gave, over the course of 65 years, to his beloved alma mater.

Interim president Dr. Corey Cockerill presided at the ceremony. She told the graduates they should be proud of the hard work and perseverance that brought them to this day,

“As you turn the page in this book called life, remember, the world needs you — authentic you, your unique perspectives, your hopes and dreams, your talents. Be bold, take risks, have fun, but perhaps most importantly, carry grace with you along the way,” she said.

“Class of 2023, on behalf of Wilmington College, we thank you for allowing us to be featured in this chapter of your life. We cannot wait to see what amazing things you write in the pages to come!”