April 16, 2024

Senior Speaker: Cooper Kroll BA ’24

Cooper Kroll BA ’24 will address graduates at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement on May 4.

Cooper posing outside near a gazebo, wearing a blue button-up short sleeve shirt and glasses. Credit: Nina Johnson

Cooper Kroll BA ’24 will be the student speaker at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement, held in Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on May 4. Kroll, who hails from Seattle, is a sociology and anthropology major.

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Curious, Independent, Creative

What made you want to come to L&C?

I was very interested in L&C’s athletics and study abroad programs as well as the fact that I would have a liberal arts degree, which fit with my values.

Where did you study overseas?

South Korea

I hope to convey my gratitude to my fellow graduates for sharing this part of their lives with me, and my awe at the energy and creativity that they have imbued into this place through their work and joy.

Why did you choose to major in sociology and anthropology?

I chose to major in SOAN partially due to a love of archaeology from my childhood. But it also seemed to me that SOAN was a road that could be taken to many different topics; it allowed me to engage with my myriad interests. As I’ve gone further in the major, I’ve also come to deeply appreciate the sensitivity with which anthropologists see the world and attempt to portray it.

What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?

One of my favorite classes was called Space, Place, and Landscape with Assistant Professor Kabir Heimsath. It was part of my major. I found the readings to be very inspiring and helpful for the essays that we wrote in the class, all of which were very thought-provoking explorations of space for me. In the time since I took the class, I have often reflected on the debates and readings we engaged with and feel that they were formative to the way in which I now see the world.

What was your favorite activity at L&C outside of class?

As a member of the rowing team here at Lewis & Clark, I get to spend almost every afternoon out on the river. I’ve always found that moving my body helps to clear my mind. I often feel that the singular purpose and cyclical nature of endurance sports is necessary for my overall physical and mental health. It can be frustrating at times, but rowing really is one of my favorite things to do.

How has L&C changed you?

I think I’ve developed more intellectual and social confidence through my time at the college. I’m a firm believer in the idea that people continue to grow throughout their lives. What I love about L&C is that there is never a scarcity of new challenges and experiences to enrich yourself with. For me, personally, that has looked like improving my executive functioning and showing myself through repeated exposure that I am capable of meeting academic and personal challenges through lived experiences.

What message do you hope to convey to fellow grads at commencement?

To my fellow graduates, I hope to convey my gratitude for sharing this part of their lives with me, and my awe at the energy and creativity that they have imbued into this place through their work and joy.

Do you have any post-graduation plans?

I hope to travel, continue in my sport in some capacity, and find my path forward, both personally and professionally.

Sociology and Anthropology Rowing Commencement