Lafayette will grant 625 degrees to 609 members of the Class of 2018 during the College’s 183rd Commencement on Saturday, May 19.
The ceremony will be streamed live in Colton Chapel and on the Commencement website. Follow the ceremony at #LafGrad on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and look for videos, photos, and other coverage of Commencement at www.lafayette.edu.
Commencement will feature an address by Marcia Bloom Bernicat ’75, U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, and include the awarding of five honorary degrees. The ceremony will start at 2:30 p.m., following the academic procession at 2:15 p.m.
The Commencement exercises have been moved to Fisher Field due to the weather forecast. They still will be held outdoors even if there is rain. If there are severe storms, the ceremony will be held in Kirby Sports Center. Non-ticket holders will be able to watch a closed-circuit Commencement broadcast at locations to be announced. Updated information on whether the ceremony will be held outside or indoors will be available by calling 610-330-5809.
The annual Baccalaureate service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Allan P. Kirby Sports Center. It will feature performances and reflections by students and a sermon by the Rev. Alex Hendrickson, College chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life.
President Alison Byerly will award Bernicat an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. She also will award honorary degrees to Jim Gardner, anchor of Channel 6 Action News in Philadelphia (Doctor of Letters); Eric Holder, 82nd Attorney General of the United States (Doctor of Laws); Beth Mowins ’89, play-by-play commentator for ESPN and CBS (Doctor of Letters); and Robert Sell ’84, who will become chair of the College’s Board of Trustees July 1 (Doctor of Laws).
Kenzie Corbin ’18, who was 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.” Corbin, of Cincinnati, Ohio, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in French.
Byerly will congratulate recipients of annual 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 Bradley Antanaitis, associate professor of physics; Roxanne Lalande, professor of foreign languages and literatures; Don Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History; and Lorenzo Traldi, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Mathematics.
Byerly will recognize Ed Ahart ’64, chair of the Board of Trustees, who is stepping down as board chair July 1. Ahart will recognize trustees Stephen Pryor ’71 and Sylvia Daniels Weaver ’75, who are retiring from the board and will be elected to emeritus status.
Madelyn Bowles ’18, Anna Ptasinski ’18, and Madeleine Titus ’18, chairs of the Senior Class Gift Committee, will present the class gift. Bowles, of Chatham, N.J., will receive a Bachelor of Arts with a major in economics. Ptasinski, of Highland Ranch, Colo., will receive a Bachelor of Science in biology. Titus, of Bethlehem, Pa., will receive a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering.
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.
Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art, 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. Chris Hunt, dean of equity and inclusion, will marshal the Class of 2018. Provost Abu Rizvi will march at the head of the faculty. Alan Griffith ’64, trustee emeritus, will lead the trustees and the platform party.
Hendrickson will deliver the invocation and give the benediction.
Matthew Berry ’18, Gabriele Rodriguez ’18, Miriam Swartz ’18, and Thomas Williams ’18 will lead the singing of “America the Beautiful” and “The Alma Mater.” Each will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. Berry, of Redding, Conn., had two majors, French and government & law. Rodriguez, of Chicago, had two majors, English and theater. Swartz, of Mission Hills, Kan., had two majors, history and anthropology & sociology. Williams, of Damariscotta, Maine, majored in art.