Commencement Day: Turning Higher Education Frontwards


After countless hours of plotting logistics, handcrafting invitations, and conspiring with supporters of our prospective students, we can now tell you what we’ve been up to these past few weeks.

From June 1st through June 3rd, we dispatched Crew and Luminaries across the country to surprise students with tailored invitations and caps and gowns that represent our quest to flip the backwards higher education system frontwards.

We had a lot of internal debate before deciding to actually do this. Is it too crazy? Can we really pull this off? Should we just send packages instead of showing up in person?

But in the end, we knew we couldn’t do it any other way.

We had to show the world that a small but mighty college can do the seemingly impossible--whether that means coordinating cross-country surprises or turning the entire culture of higher education around..

We had to live our values of being human, seizing adventure, and acting with purpose.

We had to make a statement.

So, we took the biggest symbols of our society’s expectations, the cap and gown, and hand-delivered them to students in Portland, OR; Oklahoma City; San Francisco; Olympia, WA; Seattle; and Florence, AL.

We called the occasion “Commencement Day,” and each student wore the outfit on the first day of their journey, instead of the last, as a token of our commitment to flip higher education frontwards. Over the years, students will add patches to the gowns and later pass them down to future Wayfinders on their own “Commencement Day.”

We put together a video so you can peek into the power of those moments. We’ve laughed and cried and felt so much joy when watching it (which, for me, Gina, has been about 27 times!). We hope you enjoy it, too:

Applications are still open to become a student in the inaugural cohort starting August 29, 2016. We have been overwhelmed by the talent, passion, and intelligence displayed by each applicant so far, and we would be deeply honored to invite more amazing people like them.

Cheers to seizing adventure and challenge over comfort and ease,

Wayfinding Academy Crew