Commencement Stories 2023: The Undergraduates

Students dressed in caps and gowns smile and clap during Commencement

Behind every cap and gown, there is a story—a story of hard work and dedication, of good friends and good times.

In this first installment of a two-part series, we look back at Babson College’s 2023 Commencement ceremonies and tell a few stories found on that glorious May day.

We begin with the undergraduates.

The Tie

Aahan Goyal ’23 and a handful of his fellow classmates have taken over a section of the campus Dunkin’, turning it into a makeshift center of operations, as they throw on their gowns and straighten their tassels while waiting for some much-needed morning coffee.

“I barely got any sleep last night,” Goyal says. Despite his pre-ceremony jitters, Goyal’s looking forward to receiving his diploma.

“It’s been awhile coming. I’ve been looking at graduation day as the end of it all,” Goyal says. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while, so by now it’s not too stressful. It’s more like a relief.”

Goyal is wearing his graduation gown, his cap resting on a nearby table. His shirt collar is popped and a blue-striped tie hangs loosely around his neck.

“I’m terrible with ties,” he says. A friend will help tie it later, before they head to the Len Green Recreation and Athletics Complex to check in before the ceremony. Friends and networks are key to success, says Goyal, one of the important lessons he learned at Babson.

“Babson has one of the strongest networks,” Goyal said. “If you make use of it, it really helps broaden your mindset and your business skills.”

A Celebratory Breakfast

Arundati Nayyar ’23 started her morning with a traditional Indian treat of curds and sugar. Nayyar says the sweet yogurt-like dish, known as dahi-cheeni, is a comforting taste of home.

“My mom made it for me, so that was really nice,” Nayyar says. “It’s for good luck.”

Nayyar will be returning to India to live and work shortly after the ceremony, and she’s feeling a mix of emotions. “It’s bittersweet,” Nayyar says. “I’m really excited for the next chapter, but I’ll miss everyone on campus.”

She already has made plans for when she returns to India. “No doubt, I’ll be visiting my grandparents,” Nayyar says. “It’s family time.”

students in caps and gowns walk under an iron gate
On the Upper Athletic Fields at Babson, students make their way to the tent at Commencement. (Photo: Justin Knight)

Staying Hydrated

The weather Saturday is just about perfect, but the warm temperature is making Kunaal Gautam ’23 wary. He’s a person who likes to keep cool.

Hidden under his robe, he wears a fanny pack loaded with water, as well as two protein bars and packets of walnuts and cashews. “It’s a long ceremony,” Gautam says. “I know it will be hot. I’ve got to stay hydrated. I’m not too big of a heat guy.”

Assuming he makes it through the ceremony without overheating, Gautam is looking forward to celebrating afterward. “I am excited,” he says. “I’m looking forward to having a glass of Champagne on the quad.”

As he leaves Babson, Gautam is seeking a job in data analytics. It’s a subject that grabbed his attention at Babson. He took data analytics courses and realized that poring over data, finding the mysteries and stories hidden in the numbers, was something that appealed to him. “There is so much you can learn from it,” he says.

An Emotional Morning

It already has been a drama-fueled morning for Eliot Tamers ’23. “Well, I saw my mom cry this morning, so that was pretty emotional,” Tamers says, joking that he’ll “probably make it through” the ceremony without tears.

“She went to pick up the tickets for me, and when she came back, she got out of the car crying,” Tamers says. “I was like, ‘First things first, Mom. We haven’t even made it to the ceremony.’ ”

Tamers, who served as a recruitment chair for Babson’s chapter of the national Delta Tau Delta fraternity, says his friendship with his fraternity brothers was one of the high points of his college experience.

“I met the best friends of my life here,” Tamers says. “I’d encourage new students to try to find their people. You don’t have to join a fraternity, but try to be diverse and get out of your comfort zone. Do something you’re not used to doing.”

“I met the best friends of my life here. I’d encourage new students to try to find their people.”
Eliot Tamers ’23

Selling Suits

Today may be his graduation, but tomorrow, T.J. Williams ’23 has to go to work.

A native New Yorker, Williams sells suits in a Manhattan location of Indochino. Ever since his sophomore year, Williams has worked at the seller of custom suits during summers and breaks. He helps customers with every step of the process, from picking out a style to taking measurements.

As he waits in the Len Green Recreation and Athletics Complex to march to the tent, Williams sports Indochino under his robes. “This is an Indochino suit,” he says. “This is an Indochino tie.” Even though he is inside, he also wears sunglasses. “I’m just bracing for the sun,” he says.

Once the ceremony is over, he and his family will take lots of pictures, grab a nice dinner, and then drive 3½ hours to their Brooklyn home. Tomorrow, Williams will be back at Indochino, but he doesn’t mind. “It’s an easy shift,” he says.

The world of retail suits Williams. He likes clothes, and he likes talking with people. Soon, he will work in retail management at Macy’s in New York.

Chapter in a Story

Standing under the shade of a tree, Perla Espinal ’23 waits in a long, winding line of fellow graduates that will soon start moving toward the tent. On the top of her cap, she has written, “And her story continues.”

A big part of that story revolves around family. Espinal is a first-generation college student, with one parent from Puerto Rico and the other from the Dominican Republic. “Being able to be a first-generation college student is very important to me,” says Espinal, who will soon return to her hometown of Philadelphia, where a management and sales job waits for her.

Espinal wears two necklaces that remind her of family. One is a heart necklace from her mother. The other is of a guardian angel that she wears in honor of her two late grandfathers, whom she called Papa Pedro and Grandpa.

Espinal often thinks of the two of them. “They’re my support system, even though they’re not here,” she says. “They’re like my guardian angels. They uplift my spirits.”

Espinal feels bittersweet about leaving Babson, but she knows that the College is now part of her story. Just as she carries her family in her heart, she will carry the people she met and the lessons she learned at the College as well.

Babson, she says, is now a chapter in the story of her life.

Read this Commencement series’ second installment, which focuses on Babson’s graduating graduate students.

Posted in Community

More from Community »