Congratulations, Haverford Class of 2023!

On Saturday, May 13, friends, families, faculty, staff, and students gathered in Alumni Field House for Haverford’s 185th Commencement.

Haverford’s 185th Commencement ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of the 353 members of the class.

On Saturday, May 13, friends, families, faculty, staff, and students gathered in Alumni Field House for Haverford’s 185th Commencement celebrating the Class of 2023. At every commencement, the stage serves as a symbolic bridge, connecting a student’s academic journey and the promising future that lies ahead. The 353 members of the Class of 2023 crossed the stage with jubilance, prepared for their next chapters.

Celebrations for the class began earlier in the week with Lavender Graduation and Chesick Scholars Celebration on Thursday, May 11.

Within this year’s graduates, there were 49 double majors, three triple majors, one triple minor, and the first three students with minors in Asian American Studies—a Tri-Co program that began in 2022.

Beyond the pomp and circumstance, a commencement is also a time of reflection—a moment to look back on the lessons learned, the challenges overcome, and the personal growth that has unfolded throughout the years. And it was growth that was the focus of the speech of the selected student speaker, Athena Intanate ’23.

Drawing attention to a statistic featured in Haverford’s welcome packet, Intanate shared that “there’s something exceptionally fitting about an arboretum being the place where we’ve spent the past four years of our lives. There is so much growth happening, constantly.” She shared that the trees throughout campus remind her that “growth requires change, requires the ability to remain steadfast, rooted, through hardship.”

Other speakers at the ceremony included President Wendy Raymond; Alumni Association Executive Committee President Beverly Ortega Babers, Esq. ’84; Bryn Mawr President and Professor of Psychology Kimberly Wright Cassidy; and class-chosen speaker Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Talia Young.

Pivoting through adversity remained a through line in the morning’s speeches. President Raymond crowned the Class of 2023 “champions of the pivot,” explaining how this cohort of students navigated the unknown and have made an imprint on the College through their learned experiences from COVID-19, the 2020 student strike for racial justice, and considerations of meaningful resolutions to the Honor Code. “The divots from your pivots are everywhere at Haverford,” she said.

Since 1858, Haverford has awarded honorary degrees in recognition of those whose lives and work speak of the College’s mission and values. This year’s recipient was Joan Cannady Countryman, an iconic figure in civil rights and education in Philadelphia and beyond. During her speech, Countryman shared that she “always wanted a Haverford College degree,” and talked about the Quaker influence in education, reciting the inscription on the historical place marker titled Quaker School Site in Independence Historical Park in Philadelphia which states, “although Quaker influence over city and state politics declined steadily in the 18th century, their influence in education remained significant.”

Her parting words to the Class of 2023 were ones of assurance and excitement. “I am confident that your education, rooted in Friends’ principles—especially honoring the light in every person, continuing revelation, and commitment to social justice—bodes well for generations to come.”