119th Commencement Ceremony

On June 13, 2010, the 119th Commencement Ceremony will commemorate the academic achievements of the Class of 2010.  Graduation at Stanford is not merely a one-day occasion, but a multitude of events from Thursday, June 9 to Sunday, June 13.

Although the majority of graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford will not be on campus during Commencement, families and alumni gather on the Farm for a weekend of celebration.  This is one of the University’s five major events in which it displays its best appearance possible for guests.  The others are New Student Orientation, Alumni Weekend, Parent’s Weekend, and Admit Weekend.

Thursday’s main event is “Senior Dinner on the Quad,” where the graduating class enjoys a lovely evening under the stars right in front of the Main Quad.  The Stanford Alumni Association ensures that every graduating senior gets to enjoy this dinner free of charge.

The next morning, Friday, begins with a walk through the labyrinth in Memorial Church.  The Office of Religious Life stated that the labyrinth allows one to “discover that walking in circles can actually put direction in your life.”   For seniors about to enter a completely different lifestyle, this event could allow for a time of personal reflection during an otherwise busy weekend.

Friday’s festivities continue with a reception at 4:00 pm in the Old Union Courtyard where members of the faculty and staff will honor the Class of 2010’s campaign efforts.  This reception follows a more ceremonial presentation of the class gift to Vice Provost John Bravman and Dean Julie.

Baccalaueate and Class Day Lecture comprise the highlights of Saturday’s activities and events. Baccalaureate is supposed to be a “bookmark to the Opening Convocation held” during New Student Orientation, according to the University’s website.  This multi-faith ceremony is supposed to foster thanksgiving and inspiration.  Eboo Patel, a member of the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will serve as the guest speaker.  His founding of the Interfaith Youth Core and his work for the Religious Advisory Committee for the Council on Foreign Relations highlights Patel’s interest in bridging the diversity of religions to build tolerance.  This year’s student speaker is Zaid Adhami, who will be graduating with a degree in Philosophy.  Adhami serves as an active member in the Islamic Students of Stanford University and the Muslim Student Awareness Network, as well as a leader in Campaign Restore Hope, an effort that encourages divestment from Israeli companies.

Class Day Lecture is an Alumni-sponsored event that allows a popular Stanford professor to deliver one last lecture to the graduating class.  Held in Maples Pavilion, this event has been a Stanford tradition for over forty years.  This year Debra Satz, a professor in philosophy, will be the keynote speaker.

Additionally, President Hennessy and his wife, Andrea Hennessy, open up the Hoover house to the graduating seniors and their families.  This mirrors an all class reception traditionally held for the freshmen class during New Student Orientation (NSO).

For the rest of Saturday, the University and many of its organizations are hosting open houses and celebrations.  Guests can choose from a wide variety of cultural and academic groups to celebrate the evening with.  The Stanford Linear Accelerator and Undergraduate Advising and Research are hosting open houses, while community organizations are planning dinners, banquets, and dances for students within their communities.

The weekend concludes with the 119th Commencement ceremony at Stanford Stadium on Sunday June 13.  Although gates open at 8 am, the commencement ceremony does not being until 9:30.  In true Stanford fashion, graduating seniors participate in the “Wacky Walk”, where students highlight their creativity and camaraderie with signs, floats, and balloons.

This year’s commencement speaker is Ambassador Susan Rice.  Her job as Ambassador for the United States to the United Nations allows her to tackle global issues on a daily basis and she can provide great insight into the problems that the Class of 2010 will have to face.****

Additionally at Commencement, President Hennessy will announce the Cubbertson, Groves, and Dinkelspiel awards.  These awards recognize members of the Stanford community who made strides to better the university or who demonstrated excellence in teaching.  After Commencement, individual departments hand out diplomas at their own ceremonies.

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