Portrait of Tarrin Earle '22

Meet the Student Speaker and Soloist for Bucknell's 172nd Commencement

April 20, 2022

by Brooke Thames

Tarrin Earle '22, a markets, innovation & design major, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the Freeman College of Management. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Just as Tarrin Earle '22 was getting the hang of this whole college thing, he — along with several thousand of his classmates — was sent home to adjust to a new version of college life amid the pandemic.

When on-campus classes resumed in fall 2020, Earle returned with a newfound determination to make the most of his remaining years, both in his markets, innovation & design (MIDE) major and on the field as the Bison football quarterback. Then he tore his ACL — not once but twice.

If anything, Earle's Bucknell journey has been marked by rapid change and unforeseen challenges. But when he receives his diploma this May — after addressing the Class of 2022 as this year's Commencement student speaker — Earle says he'll graduate feeling like a winner.

"Everything that's come my way has helped me grow so much over the course of my time here," he says. "I've learned that outcomes can be unpredictable even when you make all the right moves — and that's OK. It's all about finding the positives in adversity and staying patient through it all."

Some of those lessons came through Earle's experiences in the Freeman College of Management, where students are often tasked with workshopping smart and innovative product solutions in their courses.

As a first-year student in Management 101, Earle partnered with peers to build "safehouses" for children with autism and other behavioral needs at Summit Early Learning preschool in Lewisburg. MIDE classes tested his problem-solving skills even further, challenging him to think through puzzles like how to help cosmetics customers virtually try before they buy during the pandemic, or how to keep fruits and vegetables fresh in a community food pantry.

"Coming to Bucknell, I wouldn't have called myself the most creative person," admits Earle, who hails from Florence, N.J. "MIDE pushed me to think outside the box, which was one of the things I loved about it. That, and the numerous chances I got to work on team projects."

Of all the experiences that have made his time at Bucknell worthwhile, Earle says it's the camaraderie he found on campus that's been the most impactful. From leading crucial discussions in the Bison Athletes of Color affinity group to the strong bonds he formed with first-year and sophomore students in his senior year, "the connections you build here are just so different than anywhere else."

"Everybody wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. At Bucknell, even small actions have a huge impact," Earle says. "I could've written a five-page Commencement speech about everything we've been through. My goal is to take some time to celebrate all we've accomplished together and share those memories one last time."

After graduation, Earle plans to coach football while pursuing a master's degree in business at North Central College.

Swan Song

Joining Earle on the Commencement stage will be environmental studies and Spanish double-major Lia Zavattaro '22, whose rendition of the national anthem will open the ceremony.

Zavattaro began formal singing training in middle school and, at the age of 13, earned a near-perfect score on a Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) exam in Concordia College's RCM Development Program. She's sung as a soloist at Carnegie Hall as well as at Bucknell's Rooke Chapel during Sunday morning services.

Portrait of Lia Zavattaro '22

Zavattaro began formal singing training in middle school and has sung as a soloist at Carnegie Hall as well as at Bucknell's Rooke Chapel during Sunday morning services. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

"I love the freedom of music. It's an amazing way to express how you feel and lift your spirits," says the Old Greenwich, Conn., native. "It's definitely helped me stay positive and keep going throughout my time in college."

Much like Earle, Zavattaro defines her Bucknell experience as a time of growth, during which she's been able to explore the interests that most excite her — including Spanish, which Zavattaro has studied since kindergarten.

"There's so much I've learned and done here that I don't think I could have anywhere else," she says. "Bucknell has helped me grow more self-assured and confident, as well as fueled my drive to be the best I can be moving forward."

Bucknell's 172nd Commencement

This year's Commencement, celebrating the Class of 2022, is scheduled for Sunday, May 22, 2022, at 10 a.m. A celebration for the Class of 2020 will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 10 a.m.

Each ceremony will be held on Malesardi Quadrangle. Tickets will not be required for either Commencement ceremony if held outside on the quad.

As in past years, the ceremonies will be livestreamed on Bucknell's Commencement webpage and Facebook page.