“That’s My President!”

Khadija Mitchell hugs President Nicole Hurd as Destiny Ortiz Fernandez ’22 laughs in happiness.

Lafayette College named a new president in 2021. This moment right here is one of the reasons I enjoy working with Nicole Farmer Hurd. We arranged a shoot to build up some visual assets of our new president. We got an amazing student, Destiny Ortiz Fernandez ’22, and an amazing professor, Khadijah Mitchell, assistant professor of biology, to be a part of it. Before President Hurd arrived, we were playing some music, and we joked about how we would play some MC Hammer to set the tone, then laughed again at how silly it would be to play MC Hammer for someone you haven’t met in a position as important as theirs.

We were still chuckling when President Hurd walked in and wanted to know the source of the laughter. We explained about the silliness of MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit,” and without hesitation President Hurd started performing the dance to the song. Professor Mitchell yelled, “Oh, My God! That’s my president!,” and wrapped her arms around her. It was a great moment.

Balancing Act

A person riding a unicycle in front of the construction site of Portlock

Early in the fall semester, the College moved the Portlock Black Cultural Center to its new home across the street at 41 McCartney St. The house will be renovated and expanded. It was moved using a remote-controlled apparatus and took months of planning and preparation. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this kid riding a unicycle in front of this whole thing. How absolutely appropriate.

Next Stop

Milkshakes, topped with sprinkles and cookies.

The Trolley Stop Diner opened this year, and I’m suddenly heavier. Hmm. I’m going to continue to ignore any possible connection here.

The Golden Voice of Lafayette

Jim Finnen

Jim Finnen served as the public address announcer at Lafayette College football and basketball games over the span of 50 years. We needed a voiceover for the President’s Challenge campaign, and we asked Jim if he would lend his golden voice to us one more time. Listening to him glide through the script, take after take, was a real treasure for me. After our voiceover session, I asked if I could take his portrait. What an absolute legend.

The Sistine Doggo

Students, masked, pet a golden retriever on the Quad.

This shot is so good you’d think it was staged. I pinky-promise it wasn’t. I was hanging out on campus getting some shots of this group when Riley Godshall ’19 (out of frame) walked up with her pup. I nearly had to break dance to get in position to get this shot.

A Real Dribbler

Natalie_Kucowski holds a dropper to a beaker.

This shot was so hard to get. Normally, I would shoot something like this on a tripod, but I hadn’t brought one with me. I still wanted the shot, so I managed to get it shooting hand held. It was a real miracle. Also Natalie Kucowski ’21 is amazing, and her determination and ferocity on the court are nothing compared to the patience she gave me.

Basit Balogun ’21

Basit Balogun ’21 looks down at the sword of the Marquis de Lafayette, as rain pours down around him.

I had the privilege of photographing Basit a couple of times. His story is incredible, his personality infectious. He earned every second of this moment. The Class of 2021’s Commencement was hard for everyone. Attendance was limited and socially distanced, and in accordance with the rest of the 2020-2021 semester, there was one extra terrible thing that put a cherry on top of this nightmare-sundae. It rained. It didn’t rain enough to postpone the ceremony. It rained just enough to make everyone be in it. In this moment, I could feel what Basit was experiencing in this photograph. Like everything else, he wasn’t going to let the tough things stop him from being happy, because that’s how you lose. And Basit is not going to lose.

Fall Fest

Students raise their arms in a circle.

It takes a village to pull off all the great events Lafayette College students get to enjoy. Along with our amazing staff, these students helped to put together a really wonderful Fall Fest.

Leading Without Leading

Bicyclists ride in downtown Easton.As an active cyclist, I was happy to discover a group of students two years ago who were about to start living in their very own cycling special-interest housing. Watching this group expand and grow the cycling community on Lafayette’s campus has been really wonderful. This is a shot of Sebastian Wallach ’23, who was at the time leading Nathan Keller ’23 to a second-place finish.

Yolanda Wisher ’98

Yolanda Wisher

Yolanda spoke at the 2021 Commencement. It was amazing. If you missed it, you can watch it here. We featured her in the summer edition of Lafayette magazine. I wanted to show her connection to Philadelphia, and not just to the city as a whole, but to the specific neighborhood where she spends time. After communicating with her, we landed on this spot. It was a short hike to get to, but it produced this image.

A Year in Review

Lafayette’s Top News Stories of 2021

Together, we navigated a pandemic, welcomed a new president, new faculty, new students, and celebrated the successes of our shared community. Here is a look back at the most-read news from the past year.

Read More
Categorized in: Featured News, News and Features, Photo gallery

9 Comments

  1. Otitodilichukwu Chukwuka says:

    Great school. I can’t wait to apply. Congratulations to my fellow Nigerian brother Basit Balogun

  2. Prince Owusu-Nkrumah says:

    Great school! My dream☺️

  3. Martin Greenwald says:

    Could that be the famous Lafayette sword that Basit Balogun is holding? Why does the caption not identify it? It is one of the treasures of the College.

    1. Katrin Neitz says:

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, Basit Balogun had the honor of raising Marquis de Lafayette’s sword as the George Wharton Pepper Prize winner.

  4. Jeff Ruthizer '62 says:

    Why is Basit Balogun ’21 so happy? Can it possibly be that he is not only graduating—in the rain— but maybe, just maybe, he’s holding the famous Marquis de Lafayette sword from the 1790’s? It’s taken out of deep storage and used in these ceremonial moments. The caption does not identify the sword—strange since it’s the centerpiece of the photo other than the smiling graduate himself, and an 18th century sword is most uncommon at most college graduations— but it sure looks familiar. Did he get the honor of carrying it in the procession?

    1. Katrin Neitz says:

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, Basit Balogun carried out the Lafayette College tradition of holding and raising Marquis de Lafayette’s sword on stage during the Commencement ceremony. It is an honor given to the George Wharton Pepper Prize winner each year.

  5. Stephanie Hayes says:

    These are breathtaking. Thank you for the color commentating which brings these moments to life even more.

  6. Ernest Pile says:

    Adam, I’m not part of the Lehigh community, I graduated from Colgate. But as a fellow Lehigh Valley photographer, your images and this article are absolutely outstanding! Congratulations!

  7. Elaine Reynolds says:

    Beautiful Adam! Loved the stories.

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