Photo Gallery: Whittier College Commencement WHITTIER – Growing up in East Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa sometimes found himself trying to picture that “place” on the other side of Whittier Boulevard that lent its name to the famed roadway. Speaking at Friday’s 104th annual commencement ceremony at Whittier College, the current Los Angeles mayor told graduates that he would often “try to picture where the road led and what that place over there would be like – the town with the famous college founded in the mission of spreading light, peace and a love of knowledge.” “Whittier has kept truer to that mission than most,” Villaraigosa added. “And it is breathtaking to behold the talent before us today.” Hundreds of friends, family and supporters of the nearly 300 graduates making up Whittier College’s Class of 2007 packed the stadium for the annual graduation, which took place at 9 a.m. As the sun began to peek out from behind the morning clouds, the black-robed faculty members were the first to step onto the stadium field, where they quickly split into two lines and formed a passageway for the students. Then, as the graduates began filing past them on their way to their seats, the faculty applauded their efforts over the past four years and offered up congratulations for their achievements. “Some of you are earning your first advanced degree today, and with persistence and talent, you could earn even more,” President Sharon Herzberger said in her welcoming remarks. “But you should fully enjoy this day,” she added, “and savor your accomplishments.” The ceremony included recognition of English professor Sean Morris, who was awarded the 2007 Nerhood Teaching Excellence Award. Graduates Roberta C. Roy and Sudeshna Majumdar also spoke at the ceremony, and focused not only on the road ahead but the path and the support that led them to Whittier College. “Some say I achieved this solo. I say no one gets here alone,” Majumdar said. “Mom, I get it now, and I thank you. I thought you were meddling in my business, but your business was my happiness, and I get it. “Mom always told me to try,” she concluded. “And Mom, I thank you for allowing me to fly.” Villaraigosa, who received an honorary degree from the college, said the Class of 2007 came of age as the dust settled from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – and they will be the ones to “write a decisive chapter in the story of the American dream.” Between global warming and the depletion of the earth’s natural resources, Villaraigosa said, graduates face “possibly the greatest challenge in the history of the planet.” “So make your words matter. Live for something greater. Live with passion,” he added. “And live your lives proud to be Whittier Poets.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!