WATERVILLE — Sun hats replaced umbrellas Sunday as blue skies and warm temperatures greeted graduating seniors and visitors on the lawn of Miller Library for the 193rd commencement at Colby College.

Thoughts of the day focused on the idea of “being here now,” by both Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the commencement speaker, and also by senior class speaker Omari George Matthew, of the Bronx, N.Y., who said he always looked ahead to the next year of his schooling or to the next step in life – he was existing in the future.

It was never about living now, Matthew said – until Sunday.

“We’re at graduation, everybody. Graduation is the launching pad into a future life, but let’s not worry where we’re going to land right now,” he told the 472 graduates and their friends and families. “What we have to think about during graduation is the emotion of the moment. Exist in this moment, right now.”

Patrick, a first-generation college student, continued the theme, noting that with social media, smartphones, tablets and Internet gadgets, people have become disconnected from the people they are with here and now.

Patrick said he fears good citizenship is fading, due in part to this disconnect – this distraction – of being somewhere else via Twitter or text messaging.

He said a bright young man that he knows uses every manner of web technology while standing in the same room talking with him.

“In all the time, over all the years we spent talking with each other, I realize I hardly know him at all,” Patrick said. “He was there, but not present. Modern society is awash in information and grappling with how to make the most of social media … but does it help us to connect as human beings?”

Colby President William D. Adams, who will retire at the end of June, received an honorary degree as is customary for retiring presidents. He arrived at Colby in 2000.

Other recipients of honorary degrees include Richard Blanco, the poet who read at President Obama’s second inauguration; Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; William Chace, former president of Wesleyan and Emory universities; and Andrea Nix Fine ’91, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who got her start in film as a Colby student.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

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Twitter: @Doug_Harlow