A Q&A with Cabrini's Class of 2016 Valedictorian Thomas Hale

Name: Thomas Hale

Major: Graphic Design; Minors: Spanish and marketing

Hometown: Collegeville, Pa.

Activities: Phi Sigma Iota; Undergraduate Arts, Research, and Scholarship Symposium; Her Campus; Honors Program

Favorites

Book: “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Movie: I’m a sucker for Disney movies

Class at Cabrini: Computer Graphics

Professor: Jeanne Komp

Place on campus: Graphic design wing

Why did you choose to attend Cabrini?

It’s kind of like a family tradition to attend local Catholic institutions of higher education. My two older sisters went to Gwynedd Mercy and Immaculata, both schools in a SEPCHE consortium. In my search, I was looking for a local college that would allow me to commute to school and Cabrini fit the bill, with a really good program in graphic design.  

Compare senior year of high school to senior year of college. How much has changed for you in those four years?

I think I’ve become a lot more independent in the four years that I’ve been a college student. I feel a lot more involved in my studies than when I was in high school.

During high school, I was taking courses in track with my initial interests to become an architect, however, due to the economy and coupled with my realization of the rigor and rarity of local architecture programs, I decided to take a photography course, which opened my eyes to different career fields that would allow me to be creative, while designing things.

What made you choose graphic design as your major? What’s been your favorite part of the major?

I had a one-on-one meeting with the faculty at Cabrini prior to coming here and they seemed really passionate about their areas of instruction, which made me excited to enroll at Cabrini. My favorite part of the major was seeing myself grow in my technical skills and seeing how the software could make my imagination come to life.

What was your proudest moment in college?

Freshman year, after I had completed one of my projects in my graphic design class, my professor told me that the work was really good and was the best she had seen from a first-year student at her time here, which really motivated me and made me feel like a leader in the program.

Who inspires you and why?

My mom is probably my biggest source of inspiration in the fact that she has demonstrated endurance, perseverance and grace while juggling her many endeavors in life, including raising me and my two sisters and working full time.

What are you going to miss most about Cabrini?

Definitely the atmosphere. Cabrini has such a mystical and and fairy-tale environment with the trees and the historic-like buildings, like Grace Hall and the Mansion. Cabrini looks good in all seasons too!

If you could go back and change anything about your time in college, what would it be?

It would be to doubt myself less and, without this doubt, I probably would have taken on more activities. However, I found myself more confident than ever finishing as a senior at Cabrini now because of the things that I have accomplished.

What advice would you give to future students?

I would advise incoming students to take college seriously but in the process, aim to find a field of study in which you don’t even feel like you’re studying and working, but instead engaging. I would also say it’s important for them to establish good relationships with both their faculty and close peers and in doing so, they need to be open and listen especially to the advice and even criticism of their teachers.

What was your reaction when you were officially named valedictorian? How does it feel to be valedictorian?

*Insert surprise face emoji* and that coupled with an amazing sense of pride and shock and validation. I am really happy with the message that I hope to deliver to my peers and I hope they laugh and are also inspired by my words.

What do you hope people get out of your speech at Commencement?

I hope to emulate some of the great valedictorian speeches I watched on YouTube in order to get inspired for things to say. But I also believe the message is highly tailored and relevant to many of us who find ourselves in positions where we are both excited and nervous to enter the next chapter of our lives.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to continue on the path of success that I began paving during my time at Cabrini. Particular fields in graphic design where I would like most to work include web and mobile app development and/or illustration. [Saying with a laugh] Don’t ask about kids yet.

19 days until graduation!