Sun Shines on Graduating Class of 2022

Loomis Chaffee celebrated its 106th Commencement under the canopy of trees between the Head of School’s House and the Loomis Homestead on Sunday, May 29.  

The sunny warmth of a late-spring morning ushered in the graduates as they processed through the crowd of waiting faculty, staff, family, and friends.  

After a greeting from Loomis Chaffee Board of Trustees Chairman Duncan A.L. MacLean ’90 and the presentation of Commencement Prizes by Head of School Sheila Culbert, Senior Class Speaker Ben Radmore delivered his address. To laughter and cheers from the audience, Ben spoke of the strong bonds the class formed over their four years on the Island despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and the war in Ukraine. “The outside world can be a divisive force, but our unity shines through,” he said.  

Ben urged his classmates to embrace change. “Don’t avoid the unknown for the sake of your own self-doubt and unease,” he said and encouraged his classmates “to take the risks necessary to develop into exceptional adults.”  

Ben and all of the day's speakers touched upon the idea that the members of the Class of 2022, like other Loomis Chaffee alumni, have a responsibility to make good use of the lessons they learned on the Island and to work to make the world a better place. 

Commencement Speaker

Commencement Speaker Paul Mounds Jr. ’03, chief of staff to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, started his address by acknowledging that the people of Loomis Chaffee, including teachers, coaches, alumni, classmates, teammates, and friends, transformed his life. “I hope [the school] and they have transformed and broadened yours, too,” he said to the seniors. 

“I know what it feels like to sit in your seats as your Loomis experience comes to an end, to feel nostalgic and the mix of emotions from this momentous day,” he said.  

Through recollections of his four years at Loomis, Paul evoked the power of the friendships with classmates and faculty members. “We came to understand each other’s intent and purpose, but, more importantly, we learned to understand each other’s souls,” he said. “Thanks to Loomis’ nurturing yet challenging environment, we each, individually and together, uncovered our best selves and learned to work for the common good.” 

In closing, Paul reflected on the 19 years since his graduation from Loomis Chaffee. “Great opportunities were ahead of me,” he said, “and I didn’t realize that Loomis gave me the keys to help change the world. Now you have them too.”  

Paul, who was president of his senior class and a three-sport captain at Loomis, has devoted his career to public service. He has worked in the administrations of Governor Lamont and previous Governor Dannel Malloy, on the staffs of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Congressman John B. Larson, and for the nonprofit Connecticut Health Foundation. A 2007 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Paul was named Person of the Year in 2021 by the Trinity Club of Hartford, which honors Hartford-area graduates of the college who have given outstanding service to the community or the college. 

Following Paul’s speech, Dean of Faculty Andrew Matlack read the names of the graduating students, who stepped onto the podium and received their diplomas and congratulations from Sheila. 

In her concluding remarks, Sheila thanked the graduates for their patience, flexibility, and good humor through the turbulence of the last few years and commended them for their hard work. She expressed hope that they would find happiness and purpose in their lives, and she urged them to come back to visit.  

The Reverend Kasumu Usman gave the benediction. 

Commencement Prize Winners were: 
The Loomis Family Prize: Sean Lee
The Charles Henry and Mary Chaffee Wilcox Prize: Andrew Park
The Ammidon Prize: Pilar Wingle
The Florence E. Sellers Prize: Jasper Gitlitz
The Jennie Loomis Prize: Mercy Olagunju
The Nathaniel Horton Batchelder Memorial Prize: Corey Plummer

Sellers Faculty Prizes were awarded Saturday during Class Night to: 
William Cleary 
Rachel Cranston
Mariapaula Gonzales
Grace Thompson

A gallery of photos and a video from Commencement will be available on the Commencement webpage