Graduation Celebration

Matt Hawkins
May 12, 2018

Bradley’s Spring 2018 commencement celebrated the accomplishments of more than 1,000 students. The University awarded 800 undergraduate degrees, 176 master’s degrees and 24 doctorates at Peoria Civic Center’s Carver Arena.

Here are a few reflections from the graduates: 

Savannah RieseSavannah Riese, an advertising and Spanish double major major from Chanhassen, Minn.

What college story are you most likely to tell your kids one day?

My parents visited me with my host family in Madrid. I translated for both couples the whole night and confused my own language by the end. It was cool to see cross-cultural communication even though neither could speak the other’s language. My host family still asks about my parents, and my parents still talk about that night.

Why was Bradley worth it?

So many experiences just happened. I ended up in organizations I never expected and met people from all sorts of backgrounds who gave me new perspectives on life.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned?

I never thought I’d be in positions to mentor prospective students or underclass students, but I did both. I realized I can be confident sharing my experiences with others to help them make big decisions about college choice or academics.

Valerie GantertValerie Gantert, a health science and psychology double major from Chicago

You’re going to trend on Twitter because:

I visited every country in the world before I was 30. I realized I liked to travel and went to 15 countries while I was at Bradley and want to keep going. I visited Australia, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Scotland, Sweden and Vietnam.

What college story are you most likely to tell your kids one day?

I love half marathons, and ran in Sweden and Sydney, Australia during study abroad. However, the best was one a couple weeks before graduation with friends I met at Bradley. Finishing with incredible people was such a good way to wrap up college.

What was your most challenging moment?

Illinois threatened to cut the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant for my junior year. I had to work hard to stay at Bradley. I picked up extra jobs and found scholarships. I even found a scholarship for Chicago Public Schools graduates who wanted to study abroad. That paid for my Australia trip.

Alex BronnerAlex Bronner, a finance major from Lemont, Ill.

What is one thing you never thought you would do?

Swing dance. My girlfriend got me to do it and I found it’s a nice way to de-stress. It’s fun to try different moves and express myself in a different way.

Why was Bradley worth it?

I took classes I didn’t expect to take. I took Greek history, a Hebrew Bible class and more economics classes than I needed for a minor. Through these, I got to know professors and have interesting discussions I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Julia BraudeJulia Braude, a hospitality leadership major from Northbrook, Ill.

What college story are you most likely to tell your kids one day?

I didn’t know anyone at first on my study abroad trip, but it was incredible traveling the world with my roommates. I’ll always remember paragliding in the Swiss Alps with them. The Alps are one of the best places to try that, and it was amazing.

What college experience do you wish never ended?

I’ll never forget meeting people the first couple weeks of my freshman year. I enjoyed the beginning of every year when I got to meet new friends.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned?

School always comes first but you need to have time for fun. You can’t just be at the library studying all the time.