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Student Commencement Address by Logan Coffee ’24

Logan Coffee ’24 gives the student address at Commencement 2024.

Last updated May 3, 2024

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy

Following are the student remarks delivered by Logan Coffee ’24 at the 2024 Furman University Commencement ceremonies.

Thank you. And thank you to the students, staff, faculty, parents and alumni who have joined us for commencement today. It is my honor to stand before you and deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2024. As I sat down to write this speech, I was at a loss for words–I didn’t quite know what I wanted to say because I had so much to say about my Furman experience over the past four years. So, I took a moment to think and focused on the walls around me–the walls of my North Village apartment bedroom–instead. I took in the framed pictures that looked back at me, the faces of my friends and family. I took in the calendar hanging there and the dates of the month filled with event upon event, everything from Furman sports games to dinners in downtown Greenville and meetings to grab coffee with my professors. Sitting there, taking in the walls around me, I realized that these walls would not be mine for much longer. Soon, I would move out of my North Village apartment and someone else would call this space their home. As I blinked away the tears in my eyes, I thought about all the other walls that I’ll be leaving behind when I graduate from Furman. Over the past four years, Furman has become a lot more than a campus with many four-walled buildings to each of us. Furman has become a home. Looking up at the walls around me, I wondered, if these walls could talk, what would they have to say about our Furman experiences? How have these walls fostered our freedom and helped us grow day by day?

Now, I know that many of you may be hesitant to embrace the idea that the walls around us can be anything but constraining. When we think of walls, we often think of barriers. For example, I recall a time when the idea of staying within four walls felt utterly claustrophobic. For the CO (class of) 2024, our first year of college was anything but usual. Beginning at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew a life of masks, zoom classes, glass barriers and four-walled quarantine. We longed for the days of classrooms, in-person meetings and indoor events. So we understand how walls can feel like barriers to the wider world & make one a little claustrophobic. But now, as we graduate, consider how Furman’s walls didn’t stand as barriers but protected us, cared for us, and helped us to grow into the empowered students and citizens we are today. Over the years, Furman’s walls have fostered our growth and guided us as we persevered, adapted, and gave it our all despite the challenges we faced.

First, consider how Furman classrooms have fostered your freedom through education. The walls of Furman Hall, Johns’ Hall, The Library (or Lib), and others have allowed us to free our minds. These academic spaces have opened doors to new ideas and pursuits. Within the walls of Furman’s academic buildings, we’ve been able to scribble the parts of a cell on whiteboards, have heated debates about justice and Plato’s Republic, and create glorious pieces of art. Don’t get me wrong, these rooms have an air of dread during finals week, and the walls of the library study rooms have probably seen one too many last-minute study sessions, but when you think back, consider how each moment within one of Furman’s academic walls has led and allowed us to think, debate and create with freedom.

Additionally, consider how Furman’s walls often offer windows into the world. Though many Furman rooms do have windows, I speak more in the figurative sense here. Whether you had a chance to study abroad, complete an internship, present at a conference, travel to compete at an athletic event or attend a cultural life program, consider how you’ve seen the world during your time at Furman. As someone who is from a small town in South Carolina and had never traveled outside of the U.S. before college, I can now say I’ve seen eight countries, learned about peacemaking in Northern Ireland, completed an internship in Edinburgh, Scotland, and expanded my perspective and understanding of the world more in these past four years than in the 18 before them. Class of 2024, be thankful for these windows to the world because this is a world you now enter wholeheartedly as you take the next steps in your life.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, consider how your Furman family–including your friends, roommates, professors and mentors–have broken down walls (both mental and metaphorical) to help you grow into the person you are today. Whether you think of your friends who helped you during the tough days, the clubs/organizations that made you feel like a part of something greater than yourself or your professors and mentors who guided you and believed in you when you felt disheartened, someone within the Furman community has supported you during your college journey. I know I, as an anxious and sometimes shy young woman, would not be standing before you today, giving this speech to the entire Furman community, had it not been for the people who believed in me and guided me over the past four years. Little Logan would not believe how far she has come, and I encourage you all to look back and be proud of yourselves for your accomplishments as well as thankful for those who supported you along the way. Don’t forget the good ‘ole times with your Furman family, including the all-nighters in the library, the dinners and cookies in the dining hall, the fun nights in downtown Greenville and the FU chants at sports games. No matter who you are or where you come from, remember those in the Furman Family who broke down your walls and welcomed you with open arms.

In conclusion, Furman’s walls fostered our growth by giving us freedom, offering windows into the world and providing us with a Furman Family. Now, I know we can’t wait to graduate, CO 2024! As of today, these walls no longer hold us here. But to many of us, the Furman walls have become less of a structure and more of a home. Brick by brick, we made Furman our home and left the structure behind for those that follow. This is just as the classes before us–including the class of 1974–did for us and just as the classes after us will do. As we graduate, we can’t bring the four walls of our apartments, classrooms or dining areas with us, but we can bring our spirit. As we bring the spirit of a Furman student into the world, we can break down walls and barriers and make a positive impact. Thanks to our time at Furman, we already have the tools to be great people and make great things happen in this world. So, to anyone who says that the Class of 2024 can’t break down any barrier or wall in their way, all have to say is: FU! Congratulations to the Class of 2024, we did it!

Coffee received a Scholarship Cup at Commencement. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, politics and international affairs and communication studies. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Lambda Pi Eta, Pi Sigma Alpha and Psi Chi honor societies as well as the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society at Furman. This spring she was awarded the Endel Award for Excellence in Communication Studies. Logan served for four years as an admissions ambassador and leader. She was director of philanthropy for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and she was the director of homecoming court for the Student Alumni Council. Logan completed multiple internships and research fellowships. She also participated in the Washington summer experience, the Edinburgh, Scotland study away and the FOCUS trip to Northern Ireland with the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection. After graduation she will move to Japan and participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program before pursuing graduate education.

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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy