Madison Hollen to Sing the National Anthem at This Year’s Commencement Ceremony

On Friday May 20, the Roger Williams University Class of 2022 will have their Commencement ceremony. This event, with a Keynote Commencement Address being delivered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, is something that students work toward throughout their time as an undergraduate. This year, the ceremony will feature graduating student Madison Hollen singing the national anthem.

Hollen, a Psychology major and Theater minor, has a lot of musical experience.

“I guess you can say I’ve been singing forever, as I come from a very musically inclined family. I started chorus in middle school, and then really started training my voice towards the end of high school and the beginning of college,” said Hollen.

Hollen said she has always loved to sing.

“Regardless of my mood, whether happy or sad, I will turn to singing. I am someone who, like many, struggles with anxiety and singing has helped me to release those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.”

Singing the national anthem at such a big event is a lot of pressure. Hollen discussed her multitude of feelings going into the performance.

“I have a lot of feelings about performing the national anthem at graduation. First of all, I am so honored and so grateful that I was chosen. I am beyond excited to have the opportunity but am also extremely nervous! For someone who performs often and doesn’t usually get nervous, I definitely am for this!”

As a graduating senior, Hollen looked back on her years at RWU and reflected on some of her favorite memories. She landed on the spring dance club show this year as one of her most memorable.

“I was elected Secretary of the dance club for the 2021-2022 season and we put on our final show of the year and my final show as a student and member of the club. I got to spend the weekend dancing alongside some of my closest friends and the most talented people I know. The show went better than I could have ever asked for and I am so thankful.”

Hollen said she plans to stay local for a little while following the May 20 ceremony.

“I plan on staying around the area for the next year, working at Brick Alley Pub in Newport as a waitress and traveling. Fall of 2023 my goal is to move to NYC to pursue a career in acting for film and on Broadway.”

Hollen offered some advice in two areas she has some experience in: music and school.

As for music recommendations, Hollen leans toward artists such as Billie Eilish, Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus and Lizzie McAlpine.

In reflecting on her experience at RWU, Hollen gave some words of wisdom to the underclass students.

“My advice for the underclassmen as a graduating senior, is to enjoy every moment. And, get involved as much as you can, there are always things to do on campus. Someday you won’t have these opportunities anymore to do what you love with your friends.”