Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

2012 Commencement Ceremony Moves, Inspires

In a moving and inspiring commencement video address, IMSA's beloved Principal Dr. Eric McLaren urged the Class of 2012 to find their sense of purpose in life by "being good for something."

"Find something that feeds your sense of purpose and be willing to look low for that purpose as well as high," Dr. McLaren said.  "It is one way to learn how to be more fully human as you press beyond 'being good' to 'being good for something.'"

On June 2, 2012, family and friends gathered at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora to honor the IMSA Class of 2012, IMSA’s 24th graduating class.

IMSA Vice President for Academic Programs and Principal Dr. Eric McLaren (right) and Director of Student Leadership Development Dr. Bob Hernandez.

Dr. McLaren, who is living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and unable to be physically present for the commencement ceremony, was able to share his words of wisdom and hope through video technology. 

IMSA's Class of 2012 listened with open hearts and open minds as this year's address was presented in a series of photos, videos and past lectures given by Dr. McLaren during his 13 years as IMSA Principal.  A charter staff member, McLaren has held various leadership roles at IMSA in residential life, student leadership development and administration, giving him exceptional insight and wisdom into the IMSA student experience.

"At IMSA we care a great deal about what you know, but more importantly we care about how you think," Dr. McLaren said.  "We have expectations about how you will learn to think about problems during your three years at IMSA.  We know that experts not only know their field, but more importantly are able to apply what they know to situations they have yet to see,"  he added.

In addition to how they use their knowledge to solve the world's problems, McLaren also focused on the importance of ethics in decision-making.

"Your challenge is to be clear about what is right and what is good.  Perhaps a better way to say this is that ethically conscious leaders think through problems.  Judgements are backed by good reasons," McLaren added.  "Ethically conscious leaders are broad, thoughtful and evoloving.  You make an effort to make thoughtful choices, to do what there are the best reasons for doing, and to give equal weight to the interests of others."

Student Speaker Kyle Glasper
Student Speaker Irene Jiang

Student speakers Kyle Glasper of University Park and Irene Jiang of Dunlap shared their fondest memories of their IMSA journey and how their experiences prepared them for the future.

Finally, IMSA President Dr. Glenn “Max” McGee reminded graduates of their 'unlimited potential."

“The medallions and diplomas we award are not only recognition of your achievements but more importantly, they are a tangible testament to your unlimited potential ... to be a real force and drive to make a difference," Dr. McGee said.

IMSA President Dr. McGee and Dr. Steven T. Isoye, chairman of the IMSA Board of Trustees, presented diplomas and academic medallions to graduates.  Following the ceremony, graduates and their families joined staff members for a reception on campus, which included a special presentation of a commissioned piece of artwork to Dr. McLaren on behalf of IMSA. 

The artwork, designed by IMSA Fine Arts Faculty member Clay Sewell, was a memory box made using various woods and those recyled from past IMSA gym renovations.

For more information contact