Go Forth, Fords!

For the 334 members of the Class of 2024, the opportunity to walk across the stage in a cap and gown finally arrived on May 18.

The College held its 186th Commencement on May 18, a celebration long awaited by the 334 members of the Class of 2024. For many, donning a cap and gown to cross the stage and receive a diploma was a moment eight years in the making, thanks to widespread high school commencement cancellations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a drizzly Saturday, that moment finally arrived.

As parents and loved ones arrived on campus to find their seats and programs, excitement rippled through the growing crowd of soon-to-be graduates as they lined up in the Douglas B. Gardner ’83 Integrated Athletic Center. At 10 a.m., the procession entered Alumni Field House to boisterous cheers and applause that the weather stood no chance of dampening.

Maria Reyes Pacheco ’24 and Jorge Paz Reyes ’24, Students’ Council co-presidents, delivered greetings from the Class of 2024. In their remarks, they highlighted the unique circumstances and challenges students grappled with during their time at Haverford, including climate change, the nation’s gun violence epidemic, racial injustice, and violence in Gaza and Israel.

“Throughout these four years, we have continued to express ourselves in radical ways, demonstrating that Haverford is not just a college, but a diverse and expressive community,” Paz Reyes said.

Presiding over the exercises, Haverford President Wendy Raymond celebrated the graduates’ propensity for curiosity, a trait, she said, that fuels learning, discovery, and critical thinking. As the members of the Class of 2024 embark on the next phase of their lives, they do so steeped in the values of the College, she said.

“I know you will carry the ethos of the Honor Code with you, believing in yourselves, and investing in making the world a better place,” Raymond said. “I know you will bring with you the incredible gifts your classmates, friends, staff, and faculty have bestowed upon you.”

Additional speakers included Bryn Mawr College President Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Alumni Association Executive Committee President Beverly Ortega Babers ’84, and Ashok Gangadean, the Emily Judson Baugh Gest and John Marshall Gest Professor of Global Philosophy, who lauded the class for blossoming “even amidst facing urgent existential challenges.”

For 166 years, the College has recognized those whose lives and work reflect its mission and values through the awarding of honorary degrees. This year’s honorees were mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn ’64 and Dr. Ala Stanford, who received international recognition for creating the Black Doctors COVID Consortium in Philadelphia.

Kabat-Zinn encouraged the students to live in the moment, without judgment, while Stanford shared several mantras she wished had been imparted at her own graduation. Of the many she shared, one was particularly poignant as the Class of 2024 steps away from Haverford’s tight-knit campus.  

“Some people on your journey may not be there when you arrive at your destination,” she said. “Your group and tribe may change, but it doesn’t mean you don’t love or care for them. You just may have to come back to visit as you travel along your way.”

Photos by Holden Blanco ’17, Dan Z. Johnson, Patrick Montero, and Paola Nogueras.