Trinity College to Hold 186th Commencement Ceremony on May 20

585Degrees to be conferred on Undergraduate and Graduate Students

HARTFORD, CT, May 17, 2012 – In a ceremony that is revered for its pomp, pageantry and historical significance, 585 students are expected to receive their degrees Sunday, May 20, before family members and friends gathered on the College’s Main Quadrangle.

The academic procession will begin at 10:50 a.m. as the students continue the tradition of stepping on The Luther-Roosevelt Long Walk Inscription in front of the Fuller Arch in Northam Towers. The inscription commemorates the visit in 1918 by then-President Theodore Roosevelt, who received an honorary degree. 

The commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and continue until the last of the diplomas, prizes and awards have been handed out. The 585 include 387 B.A. degrees, 155 B.S. degrees and 43 master’s degrees.

Anne Fadiman, whose book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, won the 1997 National Books Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for her tireless service to the profession of letters and her belief in the power of journalism to illuminate and improve the human condition.

Fadiman is Yale University’s Francis Writer in Residence, the school’s first endowed appointment in nonfiction. A onetime staff writer for Life magazine, Fadiman has written for many prominent publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times and The Washington Post. A graduate of Radcliffe College at Harvard University, Fadiman has twice won National Magazine Awards. 

Honorary degrees also will be given to Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies at the Hartford Seminary, where she founded the Islamic Chaplaincy Program, and Ward S. Curran, a former economics professor who is Secretary of the College.

Mattson will receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree for her service to Islamic communities worldwide, her distinguished scholarship, and her commitment to fostering social progress in the Islamic world and cooperation between that world and other cultures, and Ward will be given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his long and distinguished service to his profession, his students and to Trinity, where he first joined the faculty in 1960.

The top undergraduates in the Class of 2012, including the valedictorian and salutatorian, will be honored, as will 17 students who will be named Optimae or Optimi, meaning that they earned an A- or better in all courses required for their degree.

Also, the Trinity College Trustee Awards for Faculty, Student and Staff Excellence will be announced, as well as two awards for exemplary teaching: the Thomas Church Brownell Prize, which goes to a senior faculty member, and the Arthur H. Hughes Award for Teaching Achievement, which is given to a junior faculty member. This year marks the second time that a Trustee Award for Staff Excellence will be presented. 

Following the ceremony, a reception will be held on the Soccer Field, where President and Mrs. James F. Jones, Jr., and members of the Board of Trustees will congratulate the graduates and their families.

Saturday will feature several activities, beginning with the annual Studio Arts Exhibit from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Widener Gallery in the Austin Arts Center. 

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, the Trinity College Chapel Singers will perform in the historic Neo-Gothic Chapel.  From noon to 3 p.m. at the Watkinson Library in the Raether Library and Information Technology Center, visitors can see the recently acquired Second Folio of William Shakespeare. It was published in 1632, nine years after the First Folio’s collected works. The Second Folio is famous for the dedicatory poem to Shakespeare written in 1630 by John Milton.

A Baccalaureate service will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chapel. The service is a time of reflection and thanksgiving by seniors representing a variety of faiths. Mattson will address the Class of 2012 and their guests. 

Commencement will be held rain or shine on the Main Quadrangle. However, in the event of extreme weather conditions, the ceremony will be moved to the Koeppel Community Sports Center at 175 New Britain Avenue. Seating will be limited to four tickets per graduate.

If such a move is necessary, details will be communicated by 7 a.m. on Sunday, and a notice will be posted at​. For friends and family members who cannot get into Koeppel, the ceremony may be viewed in Cinestudio in the Clement Chemistry Building; McCook Auditorium; Boyer Auditorium in the Albert C. Jacobs Life Sciences Center; and the Washington Room in Mather Hall.

For more information about Trinity’s 186th Commencement, please visit:​.