Bucknell Selects Student Speaker and Soloist for Its 171st Commencement
May 6, 2021
by Brooke Thames
Ruby Lee '21, a managing for sustainability major, will graduate with a degree in business administration from the Freeman College of Management. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications
In deciding where to spend her college years, Los Angeles native Ruby Lee '21 heeded her mother's thoughtful advice: "If you go to a school near home, you'll be happy. If you go to Bucknell, you'll grow." Now, after four years of scholarship, leadership and service as a Bucknellian, Lee will get a chance to share the story of that growth with classmates, mentors, parents and friends as the 2021 Commencement student speaker.
"There are so many different ways I've flourished here not only through numerous learning and working opportunities but also due to the support of this beautiful community," says Lee, who will graduate with a degree in business administration from the Freeman College of Management. "I might have been able to find some kind of growth at any school, but not to the degree that Bucknell made possible."
From jumping into a management position at the 7th Street Studio & Makerspace to working as an executive intern in the provost's office, Lee has made the most of every opportunity to take initiative while pouring her passions and talents into the campus community. It's what motivated her to build lasting bonds with her peers as a lead residential adviser and to create an affirming space for students of Asian heritage as co-founder of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Association.
Through it all, Lee slowly uncovered the essence of the parting message she'll deliver at Bucknell's 171st Commencement this May.
"I've found that connection relies on empathy and courage. Those two values have related to every single component of my Bucknell experience since the beginning," she says. "In a time when we've all had to make hard decisions and show up for each other like never before, it's so important that we continue to choose courage and empathy moving forward. I have hope that our generation will find great value in doing so."
After graduation, Lee plans to put those values to work herself as a government and public services consultant at Deloitte, where she'll directly apply the lessons she's learned in her managing for sustainability major.
A Final Bow
Joining Lee on the Commencement stage will be biology and theatre double major Artemisia Ashton '21, whose rendition of the national anthem will open the ceremony.
Since her first performance at age 12 in a community theatre production of Sweeney Todd, Ashton has developed into an experienced singer through voice lessons, public performances and productions at Bucknell.
She's donned roles in the theatre department's stagings of Antigone and Cabaret, and contributed to costuming and lighting behind the scenes. With the support of her family, the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., native has even performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" for crowds at Philadelphia Phillies baseball and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey games.
Biology and theatre double major Artemisia Ashton ’21 has become an experienced singer through voice lessons, public performances and productions at Bucknell. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications
"My dad, mom and grandma were really instrumental in getting me into singing and continue to help me track down auditions for these amazing public performances," says Ashton, who came to Bucknell as an Arts Merit Scholar. "I feel so honored to sing in front of them, the Class of 2021 and all the faculty who have guided me. It's such a good way to leave this chapter."
With hopes of becoming a high school biology teacher, Ashton will attend a post-baccalaureate program at King's College in Wilkes-Barre after graduation.
Bucknell's 171st Commencement
This year's Commencement is scheduled for Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. To allow for social distancing, three ceremonies will be held throughout the day, at 8:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Graduates will participate in one of the three ceremonies according to their college and major. Lee will speak and Ashton will perform at each of the ceremonies.