In a bittersweet reminder of their impending departures from their Houses, soon-to-be graduates convened with their House Masters and families in the House dining Halls for one final hurrah before today’s Commencement ceremony.
The dinner events—which also invited alumni and House staff—concluded a week of Commencement celebrations that included meetings with alumni and luncheons hosted by the Houses.
“It’s a sad time, but I am excited about a new beginning,” Kathleen E. Golden ’10 said at the Adams House dinner. “I met a lot of my best friends in my House. The House Masters treat you like family and try to make it a fun experience for everyone.”
Adams House Master John G. “Sean” Palfrey ’67 said he reciprocated a feeling of deep connection with the students.
“We share their lives and hopes,” Palfrey said. “We love them and wish them well.”
Students said that the Palfreys are widely loved among Adams House by residents, citing, for example, the Palfrey’s institution of “drag night”—an annual ritual during which the housemasters perform skits alongside cross-dressed students.
Outgoing Quincy residents also fondly recalled their own Masters’ quirks: House Master Deborah J. Gehrke has become known for her ping pong playing—an activity that Marcelo Cerullo ’10 called “competitive but cute.”
Cerullo said that the penultimate House gathering made him nostalgic “for times that have not passed yet.” Graduating seniors receive their diplomas today in ceremonies held at the Houses.
This year’s House Master’s receptions are particularly full of nostalgia for House administrators who will be leaving their posts at the end of the academic year—including the Masters of Eliot, Mather, and Cabot Houses.
“We have had a very good time,” said Leigh G. Haffrey ’73, who has served as Mather House Master for 18 years. “We know that we are going to run into Matherites, and so I think that the community for me is going to be the same.”
Graduating seniors said that living in the Houses has prepared them to enter the next stage of their lives. For Cerullo, the Quincy House community has given him “a certain sense of confidence,” he said.
At several House receptions, former and soon-to-be-former students expressed a sense of unity, and alumni at the gatherings said that they shared the same emotional connection to their Houses as do current students.
“The experience of living in cooperation with other people and the staff made it special,” recalled Bonita Allen ’75, a Lowell alumna.