Trinity College to Hold 185th Commencement Ceremony on May 22

596 Degrees to be conferred on Undergraduate and Graduate Students

​HARTFORD, CT, May 18, 2011 – Nearly 600 degrees will be conferred on bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates on Sunday, May 22 during Trinity’s 185th Commencement, a ceremony filled with tradition and pageantry as well as the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those moving on.

The Commencement ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m. on the main Quadrangle and continues until 1:30 p.m., caps two days of activities during which the students’ achievements will be celebrated by family and friends. Following the main 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 personally congratulate the graduates.

Of the 596 degrees to be awarded, 554 will go to undergraduates and 42 will be given to master’s degree candidates.

The top undergraduate students in the Class of 2011 will be honored. Also, the Trinity College Trustee Awards for Faculty and Student Excellence will be announced, as will two awards that recognize 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 first time that a Trustee Award for Staff Excellence will be presented.

Also, the College’s most prestigious award for exceptional scholarship, the Charles A. Dana Research Professorship, will be given to three members of the faculty. The award, which is bestowed in odd-numbered years, was established in 1984 to recognize scholarly achievement and support continuing research and publication.

Four people who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of endeavor will be granted honorary degrees. They include Patrick Wilson, an actor who has appeared on television and in film and theatrical productions, and who will deliver the keynote address. Wilson will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in recognition of his performances in a wide range of plays and media and for his commitment to his craft.

A native of Virginia and graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Wilson has won three Drama League Awards: for the off-Broadway production of Bright Lights, Big City, his role in Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, and for his work in The Full Monty. He has also starred in Miss Saigon, Carousel and All My Sons, and was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Curly in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma. In addition, Wilson has appeared in HBO’s highly acclaimed adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and in 20 movies.

A 1973 graduate of Trinity, Michael Battle, a minister, former college official and currently the United States Ambassador to the African Union, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for building an exceptional career on the foundation of his Trinity education—one marked by scholarship, outstanding leadership, and inspirational public service.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Walter “Wally” Lamb, an educator, social activist and prize-winning author of several books, including She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed and Wishin’ and Hopin’, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for creating a body of literature that consistently reminds people how indomitable the human spirit is.

A 1963 graduate of Trinity, Scott Reynolds, former secretary of the College and assistant to the president of Trinity, and previously a Pentagon official and financial services expert, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his long and distinguished service to the College.

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

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, the Trinity College Chapel Singers will perform a concert in the historic Neo-Gothic Chapel, and from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Phi Beta Kappa Initiation Luncheon and Ceremony will be held in the Washington Room in Mather Hall. Members are elected from among those students who have achieved the highest scholastic standing.

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. Ambassador Battle, an alumnus of the College, will address the Class of 2011 and their guests.

On Sunday, 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 delivered an address and received an honorary degree.

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 Center at 175 New Britain Avenue. In that case, 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. A recorded message will be left on the commencement hotline at 860-297-4133 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, or online at:

For more information about Trinity’s 185th Commencement, please visit: