March 6, 2017

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I’m sure that, like me, you’re looking forward to celebrating the Class of 2017 at Trinity’s 191st Commencement on Sunday, May 21.

It’s my privilege now to share with you the names of this year’s honorary degree recipients. Our Commencement speaker will be philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel C. Dennett, co-director of Tufts University’s Center for Cognitive Studies. World-renowned for his theories on the mind-body connection, Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts and a best-selling author of such books as Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Harvard- and Oxford-educated and dubbed one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism,” he is known for his role in the New Atheist movement, and he has been honored with numerous awards and fellowships — including two Guggenheims and a Fulbright — and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Joining him as honorands will be D. David Dershaw ’70, the founding director of the Breast Imaging Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and LaTanya Langley ’97, vice president and general counsel of BIC International Company.

This year’s Baccalaureate speaker will be nationally recognized human-rights activist, public theologian, and social critic Ruby Nell Sales.

The Baccalaureate ceremony will be held in the Chapel at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, and the Commencement ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 21. I hope you’ll join us for these momentous occasions in honor of the great Class of 2017.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience