Commencement 2008

12:38 pm
The sun comes out as the crowd moves to Founders Green.

11:42 am:
Kosman: “Benjamin Morris Zussman.” Well done! Crowd cheers. Nancy Vickers, President of Bryn Mawr College, delivers the close. “Remember the time before the wax hardened, when each was a fresh seal…”
11:07 am:
President Emerson: “As Faculty Marshal Aryeh Kosman reads your name, please come forward to receive your diploma…” Kosman: “Allyson Kimberly Abrams…Emmy L. Acevedo…”

10:30 am:
The awarding of honorary degrees has begun.
First up: John Carroll ’63. “For your editorial excellence, mentoring of reporters and dedication to integrity…”
Carroll riffs on money. “The Class of ’63, to my knowledge, produced no business moguls…we responded to the call to serve society, not ourselves…Haverford grads were more attuned to issues of right and wrong…Newspapers remain America’s great engine of original reporting…How much will the public know — and not know — in the future?…My message to you is this: among other forms of success, I do wish you prosperity. Yes, make a little money along the way, but don’t fail to do more…”
Next: Dr. D. Holmes Morton. “Thousands of children worldwide have been helped — or saved.”
Dr. Morton sees modern slavery in poverty. “Educational debt, medical debt, insurance debt… restricts our freedom, our choices…Think about that before you rush off to buy that BMW…I work in a different place…small, nonprofit, whose mission is humanitarian…Take with you the ability to care…”
Finally, Anna Deavere Smith. “For your compassionate engagement in social issues…”
Smith reminisces about her undergraduate life at Beaver College (now known as Arcadia University). “There was a mere thimble-full of Negro girls…We were not asked if we had a preference about the race of our roommate…but white girls were asked if they would ‘mind’ rooming with a Negro…MLKing was killed during my first year…Most girls were concerned if race riots would complicate travel plans for Spring Break…But by sophomore year, we Negro girls were called ‘Blacks’…The drumbeat of change today is no softer…I know you’re excited about the opportunities that await outside these gates, waiting for you…You’ve been educated for a global community…You’re now about to have more mobility than mankind has ever known…Pay attention to how you move…increase your circle, strengthen your reach…Stay savvy that we are ultimately as vulnerable as the most vulnerable and never as powerful as the most powerful…As you move out of here, move with grace. Keep grace alive.”

10:20 am:
President Emerson greets the crowd. “You have worked hard. Really, really hard…You are now fully prepared to go forward and find your life’s work. I salute you!”
10:00 am:
And they’re off!

9:45 am:
Students head to Ryan Gym to line up:

9:42 am
Testing, testing, 1,2,3:

9:40 am
The diplomas arrive. That’s registrar Lee Watkins in the foreground. Although we are conferring 301 degrees, only 295 will be on hand to receive their diplomas (six started their Haverford career in the Class of 2007 but completed their degree requirements after last year’s exercises):

9:30 am
Violet Brown, Steve’s assistant, joins the conversation. Contingencies are discussed. Decision: we stay outside.

9:27 am
Tom King (Security) and President Steve Emerson ’74 check out the weather radar:

8:50 am
Aryeh Kosman, emeritus professor of Philosophy and Reader of the Names, says “inside.”

8:41 am:

The big day is here and at 8:41 am the question is not “Where did I put my mortar board????” but rather “In or out?” Everything is set up…

But the doppler radar isn’t pretty: