Best-selling author Gregory Maguire - the writer who gave the characters from “The Wizard of Oz” a back story - asked the 298 graduates of Keystone College to be patient with themselves because they are smarter than they know.
“You can’t really learn that until you’ve been out in the world,” he said.
Maguire, best known for the success of his novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” which was adapted into the Broadway musical “Wicked,” was the guest speaker at Keystone’s 147th commencement ceremony Saturday at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
He was also a graduate of sorts, receiving an honorary degree from the college.
Keystone’s event was not Maguire’s first commencement speech, so this time he decided to focus more on the actual ceremony. He urged the graduates to “think about the actual moment in which they’re in.”
“Ceremonies are not simply archaic holdovers,” he said, adding that looking back on a certain time later in life can inform a person about their own character.
Maguire found inspiration for the speech while transcribing his journals from college and high school.
“Learning from what my own journals show me, I now think rituals such as a graduation are necessary moments in which we formally give ourselves permission to advance, to grow up. To start now,” he said during the ceremony.
Born and raised in Albany, N.Y., Maguire has written 18 novels for children and 10 for adults, as well as picture books, short stories, essays and reviews, according to Keystone. Maguire has been the subject of a New York Magazine profile, was a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” a commentator on National Public Radio and BBC’s Radio Four, and has contributed to many publications, including Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post. Saturday marked his third visit to Northeast Pennsylvania.
He was introduced to Keystone College by Suzanne Fisher Staples, the program director for the annual Gathering held at the school. Maguire has spoken twice at the event - an annual symposium featuring lectures, workshops, performances and discussions. He met Staples while working for a children’s literacy nonprofit in New England, where Maguire lives in Concord, Mass.
The following local students were presented as candidates for degrees and certificates at Keystone College:
SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES Master of Science in Accountancy
Roy Gonzalez, Falls.
Master of Science in Sport Leadership and Management
Kirsten Renee Hollister, Montrose.
Bachelor of Science
Donald M. Catlett, Factoryville; Melissa Jeanne Davidson, Montrose; Sarah Jane DeBree, Fleetville; Ryan Alec Dill, Dalton; Megan Harvey, Tunkhannock; Paige Maelene Heller, Tunkhannock; Michael Hopkins, Dalton; Dean Bryce Hutchins, Tunkhannock; Kassandra Marie Lamberson, Kingsley; Patrick Edward McKenna, Mehoopany; Duane Alyn Naugle Jr., Laceyville; Erin Nicole Shedlock, Lake Winola; Thomas J. Stephens, Tunkhannock; Alison Elizabeth Very, Nicholson; and Calli Ann Wydeen, Nicholson.
Associate in Applied Science
Colby Yurksza, Tunkhannock.
Associate in Science
Karen Elizabeth McMicken, Meshoppen; Ashley Marie Wilbur, Factoryville; and Amber R. Wydeen, Nicholson.
TUROCK SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Bachelor of Arts
Trista Ann Carpenter, West Abington Twp.; Tyler Vincent Dibble, Montrose; Jessica Rachel Maietta, Dalton; Caitlin Desiree Myers, West Abington Twp.; Ashley Irene Purdy, Factoryville; and Olivia J. Strunk, Tunkhannock.
Bachelor of Science
Margaret Kathleen Barlow, Meshoppen; Brady Robert Butler, Noxen; Michael J. Chermak, Dalton; Shelby May Croasdale, Nicholson; Donald Eustice Curtis IV, Factoryville; Jacob Michael DeRoberto, Tunkhannock; Ryleigh Antonia Fitch, Springville; Peter Russell Horger, Tunkhannock; Kristi Rose Krishak, Springville; Faith Marie Kwiatkowski, Forkston; Darcia Christine Mason, Kingsley; Joshua Garrett Matulevich, Nicholson; Nathan John Mihal, Dalton; Carmelitta M. Oakley, Nicholson; Sarah Jo Pharr, Tunkhannock; Courtney Lyn Reeves, Falls; Charles Nicholas Schneider, Tunkhannock; John Edward Shaffer, Nicholson; Emma Jayne Vasky, Factoryville; Christiana R. Vito, Dalton; Joshua Ray Walters, Tunkhannock; Miranda June Woodruff, Tunkhannock; and Mikayla M. Wright, Monroe Twp.
Associate in Science
Hunter Reed Bedell, Montrose.