Lafayette will grant 606 degrees to 590 members of the Class of 2017 during the College’s 182nd Commencement this Saturday.
Commencement will feature an address by Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, and include the awarding of four honorary degrees. The ceremony will start at 2:30 p.m., following the academic procession at 2:15 p.m.
The annual Baccalaureate service will be held at 10:30 a.m. the same day, featuring performances and reflections by students and a sermon by the Rev. Alexandra Hendrickson, College chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life.
The Baccalaureate service and Commencement exercises are scheduled to be held on the Quad. In case of rain, one or both ceremonies may be held in Kirby Sports Center. If there is a change in the location of either ceremony based on the weather, that information will be available by calling 610-330-5809.
President Alison Byerly will award Chernow an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. She also will award honorary degrees to Laneta Dorflinger ’75, distinguished scientist and director of contraceptive technology innovation at FHI 360 (Doctor of Science); Seifollah Ghasemi, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Air Products (Doctor of Science); and Meredith Monk, recipient of the National Medal of Arts (Doctor of Arts).
Valerie Melson ’17, selected by the campus community as the recipient of the George Wharton Pepper Prize, will speak and present the sword of the Marquis de Lafayette to her classmates. The Pepper Prize is awarded annually to the senior “who most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.” Melson, of Upper Marlboro, Md., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience.
Carli Jones ’17, Steven Nesbit ’17, and Samantha Yu ’17 achieved the highest cumulative grade-point average in the class. They will be recognized as valedictorians and will be the first to receive their diplomas. Jones, of Hillsborough, N.J., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in biology. Nesbit, of Easton, Pa., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience. Yu, of Easton, Pa., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in economics.
Byerly will congratulate recipients of annual Lafayette awards for distinguished teaching, scholarship, and service to the College and recognize faculty members who are retiring and have been elected to emeritus status. They are Donald Chambers, Walter E. Hanson/KMPG Peat Marwick Professor of Business and Finance; Alan Childs, professor of psychology; Curlee Holton, David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of Art; Neil McElroy, dean of libraries; and Frank Tavani, instructor of athletics and physical education and former football coach.
Edward Ahart ’69, chair of the Board of Trustees, will recognize trustees George Jenkins ’74 and Bruce Maggin ’65, who are retiring from the board and will be elected to emeritus status.
Corinna Anderson ’17, Katelyn Arnold ’17, Jordan Flannery ’17, and Charlotte Rath ’17, chairs of the Senior Class Gift Committee, will present the class gift. Each will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. Anderson, of San Francisco, majored in policy studies. Arnold, of Coopersburg, Pa., had two majors, government & law and economics. Flannery, of New Providence, N.J., majored in government & law. Rath, of Greenville, Del., majored in international affairs.
Byerly will confer degrees upon the graduates and deliver farewell remarks. Assisting in presenting diplomas will be Robert Root, clerk of the faculty, and Erica D’Agostino, dean of advising and co-curricular programs.
Ilan Peleg, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law, will lead the academic procession as Bearer of the Mace. The mace is carried by the faculty member senior in the rank of full professor. Paul McLoughlin, dean of students, will marshal the Class of 2017. Provost Abu Rizvi will march at the head of the faculty. Mark Weisburger ’55, trustee emeritus, will lead the trustees and the platform party.
Hendrickson will deliver the invocation and give the benediction. Victoria Decker ’17, Meridith Guro ’17, Andrew Losito ’17, and Scott Paulis ’17 will lead the singing of “America the Beautiful” and “The Alma Mater.” Decker, of Dillsburg, Pa., will receive a Bachelor of Arts with a major in biochemistry. Guro, of Bethlehem, Pa., will receive a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering. Losito, of Darien, Conn., will receive a Bachelor of Arts in engineering. Paulis, of Towson, Md., will receive a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy.