Trinity College’s 190th Commencement to Be Held Sunday, May 22

Alumnus William K. Marimow, Editor of 'The Philadelphia Inquirer,' Will Address Graduates, Faculty, and Guests

​Hartford, Connecticut, May 20, 2016 – In a ceremony that is revered for its pomp, pageantry, and historical significance, 585 students are expected to receive their degrees on Sunday, May 22, before family members and other 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 stone on the Long Walk in front of the Fuller Arch at Northam Towers. The stone’s inscription commemorates the visit in 1918 by former President Theodore Roosevelt, who received an honorary degree that year. Soon after the stone was laid in 1919, students began the tradition of not walking on the stone before Commencement day, fearing that to do so would in some way prevent their graduation.

The Commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. and continue until the last of the diplomas, prizes, and awards have been presented. Among those graduating, 375 undergraduates will receive B.A. degrees, 161 will be awarded B.S. degrees, and 49 graduate students will receive master’s degrees.

William K. Marimow
​William K. Marimow
Trinity’s Commencement speaker, William K. Marimow, graduated from Trinity in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in English. He began working at the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia before joining The Philadelphia Inquirer. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1978, and, seven years later, the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. He then moved to The Baltimore Sun, where he served as metro editor, managing editor, and then editor-in-chief. During Marimow’s time at the newspaper, The Sun won Pulitzers for feature writing, beat reporting, and investigative reporting and was chosen by Columbia Journalism Review as one of the nation’s 10 best newspapers.

In 2004, Marimow moved from The Sun to National Public Radio, where he strengthened and expanded the news division. In 2006, he returned to The Philadelphia Inquirer as editor. In 2011, he joined the faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The following year he was recruited to become, once again, the editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Marimow has earned, among other honors, two Silver Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association and two Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. In 1982, he was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is a former member of the Trinity College Board of Trustees (2008-2015) and the recipient of Trinity’s 175th Anniversary Award, the Alumni Achievement Award, and The Eigenbrodt Cup, which recognizes a prominent graduate who has rendered unusual and significant service to the College.

Marimow will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of journalism and of his unwavering dedication to Trinity.

Honorary degrees also will be presented to Miriam Colón-Valle, founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and a trailblazing stage, film, and television actress; and Trinity alumnus Michael P. Conforti ’68, P’16, former director of the Clark Art Institute and a faculty member of Williams College.

Colón-Valle will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of her accomplishments as a pioneer of Hispanic theater, helping to open doors for generations of Hispanic actors. Conforti will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts degree in recognition of his accomplishments in museum leadership and in the promotion of the visual arts, arts education, and community involvement with arts institutions.

Graduating senior Hamdi Abdi has been selected to be the student speaker during the Commencement ceremony. A biology major and writing associate at the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric, Abdi is from Sewanee, Georgia. She is a QuestBridge Scholar and past president of Trinity’s Muslim Students’ Association.

The valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2016 will be named. In addition, 29 undergraduates have earned the designation summa cum laude, 33 have earned the designation magna cum laude, and 48 have earned the designation cum laude. Twenty-one graduate students earned the designation “honors.”

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

Following the ceremony, a reception will be held on the soccer field, where President Joanne Berger-Sweeney and her husband, Urs V. Berger, and members of the Board of Trustees will congratulate the graduates 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. Indoor seating will be limited to four guest tickets per graduate.

If such a move is necessary, details will be communicated by 7:00 a.m. Sunday. A notice will be posted at For friends and family members who cannot get into Koeppel, the ceremony may be viewed at these campus locations: Cinestudio in the Clement Chemistry Building, McCook Auditorium, Boyer Auditorium in the Albert C. Jacobs Life Sciences Center, Vernon Social, and the Washington Room in Mather Hall.

For more information about Trinity’s 190th Commencement and to view the ceremony online via live stream, please visit:

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