Anticipating the Forty-Third Commencement

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Commencement is an exciting time for students, family, friends, and the entire Bard College at Simon’s Rock community. But the ‘season’ starts well before the 43rd Commencement takes place on Saturday, May 19th.

commencement-1.jpgLong before the tent goes up on the Blodgett House lawn, the sound system is laid, and the rows of chairs are lined up, faculty and staff begin the behind the scenes planning and preparation for the most important event of the year. The search for a commencement speaker begins in the fall, agreements are signed and announcements go out. Invitations are sent, photographers are contacted, robes are ordered, and rehearsals are scheduled. The commencement program is designed and the print Shop is put on notice. The weather forecasts are tracked and backup plans reviewed.

Students are also working hard and preparing to mark this milestone. Senior Theses are completed and students deliver their performances, present their work, exhibit their art, and defend their arguments. Finals are taken and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Commencement-2.jpgThe week leading up to graduation is filled with festivities and traditions. By the time students line up to receive their diplomas, seniors will have concocted the annual prank and the community will have gathered to watch as it unfolds, and faculty, staff, and students will have convened for the annual reading of the thesis highlights.

Provost Peter Laipson will have recognized those graduates who will be receiving their Associate’s Degree at the annual AA Reception on Wednesday, May 16, in the Daniel Arts Center (DAC), those receiving their Bachelor’s Degree at the BA candlelight dinner on Thursday, May 17, at the Beckerman Dance Studio in the DAC.

After a week of festivities and traditions, the pomp and circumstance begins.

Commencement Schedule

8:30 a.m.


Continental breakfasts will be served at 8:30 a.m. for the B.A. graduates and their families in the Dance Studio, and for the AA graduates and their families in the Dining Hall.

10:00 a.m.

Students and faculty report to classroom buildings to robe. A Bagpiper and longtime friend of the College, Brian Hopewell, will lead the procession to the tent.

11:00 a.m.

Commencement exercises begin with remarks by Emily H. Fisher, Chair of the Board of Overseers, and from Provost Peter Laipson.
Poet Laureate Philip Levine will address the assembled graduates as the featured commencement speaker.
AA and BA Class Representatives will also speak. Academic prizes will be awarded by faculty.
Students will present the Dr. John A. Glover Award, the Ruth B. Ide “Good Sport” Award, and the Richard C. Drumm, Sr. Award – all honoring members of the College community the graduates have selected.
President Leon Botstein will give the traditional Charge to the Graduates before the degrees are conferred.


Following the ceremony, new alumni will gather for a reception and the day will conclude