Commencement

Celebrating the Class of 2022 with a grand send off

This year's Commencement ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. on our Chapel Lawn. We look forward to a beautiful day honoring and celebrating this incredible class of Pioneers!

Please refer to the 2021-22 Commencement & Year-End Events document for more details, and please contact Tracy Schooner at schoonert@wra.net to answer any of your questions.

Art C. Chang '81 selected as 2022 Commencement Speaker

Western Reserve Academy is thrilled to announce this year's Commencement speaker will be Mr. Art C. Chang, WRA Class of 1981.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his MBA from NYU Stern, Mr. Chang has led an exciting and impressive career. A creative problem solver, Mr. Chang has addressed a wide variety of challenges, including but not limited to offering solutions such as NYC Votes (to increase voter engagement) and Casebook (the first web-based software platform for child welfare).

Mr. Chang was a New York City mayoral candidate in 2021. His platform underscored the priorities he values most: education, family, civic engagement, to name a few. He is a son of Korean immigrants, he started 12 small businesses in New York City, and he has served under four mayors and two governors. An entrepreneur with an extensive background in technology, venture capital and government systems, his accolades and experience are as diverse and dynamic as the city he calls home, but of all the roles he juggles, he is proudest to be a husband and father.

Intellectual, relatable and kind, Mr. Chang will be warmly welcomed back to campus, and we look forward to him joining us for our 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

Arthur Johnson ’22 chosen as the 2022 Commencement Student Speaker

Each year, the graduating class has a chance to play a role in their own Commencement ceremony through the student speaker election process. After a ranked-choice vote, the Class of 2022 made it clear that, to them, Arthur “Art” Johnson ’22 was the obvious choice.

…Obvious to everyone, perhaps, except him!

“I was genuinely excited when I heard!” he shared. “I don't think anyone truly anticipates being chosen for such an important honor, so it came as a pleasant surprise. I'm also incredibly proud to be able to speak on behalf of our wonderful class in front of a wider audience and the greater WRA community.”

Whether you’ve interacted with Art in the classroom, read his first-place entry in the 2022 College Essay Contest or heard him speak at Morning Meeting on behalf of the student organizations in which he’s involved (such as Viewpoints, Latinos Unidos), you likely understand why such a charismatic and thoughtful Pioneer was selected. But if you ask his roommate, Benji Sindell, the answer is much simpler: “Benji told me that he believes [people voted for me] because I represent much of what Reserve stands for,” shared Art. “But otherwise, I know everyone has their independent rationale for voting.”

As we head toward Commencement this weekend, Art shared that his speech will touch upon themes of appreciation. In writing his address, he intentionally avoided reading or watching other WRA commencement speeches, but he did note that while preparing, he reflected on a work he read earlier this year. Before he even considered that he might speak at graduation, Art read “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace, and while his address might not be directly influenced by the 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech, he shared that he hopes to speak with the same charisma and confidence as Wallace.

Art has stood before his peers before, but never in front of the Chapel’s bright white doors, dressed in the formal wear that so many alumni members have donned in Reserve’s history, and before a crowd of faculty, staff, classmates and their families.

“If I wasn't a little nervous, I think I'd be doing something wrong!” he said. “But I'm also very confident in my speech, so it's healthy nerves, not crippling ones!”

We too are confident and very much look forward to hearing his address on Sunday.