HARTFORD, CT, May 16, 2013 – In a ceremony that is revered for its pomp, pageantry and historical significance, 566 students are expected to receive their degrees Sunday, May 19, before family members and guests gathered on Trinity 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 that year.
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. Among those graduating, 374 undergraduates will receive B.A. degrees; 167 will be awarded B.S. degrees; and 25 graduate students will receive master’s degrees.
Bridget Mary McCormack, a 1988 graduate of Trinity who was elected justice of the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2012, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her “exceptional devotion to legal education, especially her passionate commitment to developing clinical opportunities for law students to learn while serving the public.”
McCormack’s hard-fought victory for a seat on Michigan’s high court is the latest achievement in a distinguished career in which she has taught at two law schools – Yale Law School and the University of Michigan Law School -- and worked for the Legal Aid Society and the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York. Both of McCormack’s siblings, Mary Catherine McCormack, who starred in The West Wing, and Will McCormack, who appeared in The Sopranos on HBO, attended Trinity, graduating in 1991 and 1996, respectively.
Honorary degrees also will be given to Margaret Ann Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at the Yale University Divinity School; Michael Stanley Dukakis, a former three-term governor of Massachusetts and the 1988 Democratic candidate for president; and Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe and a staff writer for The New Yorker.
Farley, the featured speaker at the Baccalaureate Ceremony, will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for her “integrity, dedication to her profession, unstinting service to her fellow human beings, and steadfast belief in justice as the yardstick against which love is best measured.” The Baccalaureate Ceremony, which is for graduating seniors and their guests, will be Saturday, May 18 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chapel. The author of seven books, Sister Farley’s best-known work is Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, which presented a carefully articulated view of love in which the criterion for all loving relationships is grounded in justice.
Dukakis will be given an honorary Doctor of Law degree for a “lifetime of service to his nation, state, community and profession.” Dukakis will deliver a talk about the current political climate, “Gridlock in Washington…and What to do about it,” on Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m. in the Goodwin Theater in the Austin Arts Center.
Kolbert, who authored Field Notes, the book that the Class of 2013 read at the start of their college career four years ago, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for her “brilliant reporting, which has played an important role in raising awareness of what may be the single most important science story of our time, and for her dedication to exemplifying and promoting the highest standards of journalism.”
The valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2013 will be named. In addition, 33 undergraduates have earned the designation Summa Cum Laude; 25 have earned the designation Magna Cum Laude; and 50 undergraduates have earned the designation Cum Laude. Seven graduate students earned the designation “Honors.”
Also, the Trinity College Trustee Awards for Faculty, Student and Staff Excellence will be announced, as will three awards for exemplary teaching: the Thomas Church Brownell Prize, which goes to a senior faculty member; the Arthur H. Hughes Award for Teaching Achievement, which is given to a junior faculty member; and the Charles A. Dana Research Professorship.
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 and friends.
Saturday will feature several activities, beginning with the annual Studio Arts Senior Exhibition 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 view an exhibition on poet Hyam Plutzik (1911-1962). Plutzik grew up on a farm near Southbury and attended Trinity, Class of 1932, and Yale. Plutzik died at the age of 50 after the publication of his poem, "Horatio," which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and considered by many to be his greatest work. Also on display is a copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, and a recent gift of 30 letters from a whaling captain to his wife, sent from Hawaii to Fall River, MA, from 1842-1844.
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 Ave. Seating will be limited to four tickets per graduate.
If such a move is necessary, details will be communicated by 7 a.m. Sunday. A notice will be posted at: www.trincoll.edu. 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 187th Commencement, please visit: http://trincoll.edu/AboutTrinity/commencement.