Wesleyan 180th Commencement: A Live-Blogging Adventure

So it begins. 5,000 chairs sit on Andrus Field in preparation for Wesleyan’s 180th Commencement Ceremony today. For those who can’t make it, Wesleying’s own BZOD and pyrotechnics will be live-blogging the event here, so check back soon.

You can also view the ceremony online at this link. Check out our coverage after the jump.

1:09 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

That’s it for us, thanks for reading, congratulations again, livebloggers out.

1:08 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

The benediction, the Alma Mater, and the Fight Song to close it out! Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

1:02 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

And the degrees are awarded!

12:58 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Other exciting middle names include Cannon, Mahinaalohakaua’iikamalie, Kirby (Super Smash, anyone?), Berger, and the ever so unusual Elizabeth.

12:54 pm BZOD wrote:

Michael Eric Roth ’12 just graduated. So did the man on the program with probably the best middle name: Elias Magic Kahn Rothblatt ’12.

12:51 pm pyrotechnics wrote:


12:51 pm BZOD wrote:

Our dear comrade Nick ”frostedmoose“ Quah just got called! We already miss you, man. We’re over by the pine trees doing the Quah call: QUAH QUAH QUAH! Wherever Zach and his golf cart are, I’m sure he’s doing the same.

12:48 pm BZOD wrote:

Well, Kennedy’s name just got called and the resulting cheers effectively halted the reading of names.

12:39 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Intermittent barking of an airhorn…

12:34 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

A Settlers-of-Catan-player extraordinaire approaches the platform with a winning smile…

12:33 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

And now, at long last, the 713 degrees of Bachelor of Arts being awarded to the Class of 2012!

12:33 pm BZOD wrote:

Class of 2012, I love your middle names. I’ve heard “Marx,” “Syracusa,” “Duke,” and “Batungbacal.” We should all just go by our middle names from now on. I’m down to be Zachariah.

12:27 pm BZOD wrote:

Conferring of degrees. Our dear leader Zach visits again and takes a picture of us chilling by our tree.

12:22 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Masters of Philosophy, Arts, Philosophy in Liberal Studies, Arts in Liberal Studies being awarded.

12:18 pm BZOD wrote:

More Bennet quotes/paraphrasing: “This is not an argument between left and right. This is an argument between the past and your future. And your generation will win.”

We must change our government, or otherwise they will “become as irrelevant as the British Parliament did in 1776.”

About the Senate: “They have no idea how much change is coming, and they have no idea what they’re up against in you.”

Calls out America’s lack of energy policy, education and wealth gaps, and suggests “public service and teaching” to pay back for the privilege of attending “this remarkable university.”

Paraphrasing: “The question isn’t whether we have the means to solve the problems, but whether we have the values and courage. That’s the question, but I think we know the answer.”

“Class of 2012, bring down the walls. Good luck!”

12:18 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

The awarding of degrees is beginning!

12:17 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

The tree under which I am sitting has decided I’ve overstayed my welcome. It is now hurling branches at me.

12:16 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

“Get out there 2012, and bring down those walls!” Senator Bennet closes with wishes of congratulations and good luck.

12:15 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Remarking that  one can take control of one’s own education. Revolution seems to be the modal word of Bennet’s speech.

12:12 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Now describing how our generation is gifted with so many new levers of power and information — “you will transform American politics in this age.”

12:09 pm BZOD wrote:

Bennet rags on the systems of education and politics in America, as they are both overdue for “disruptive” and “transformative” change and reinvention. They are not doing their job teaching people to deal with the changing world.

“At a time we need to change the system of public schools, we’re deadlocked in debates over the minutes in a school day.”

Too often the U.S. Senate is “immune to new facts, or facts of any kind.” Almost “no one listens to anyone else.”

About the Senate: “Hang on, revolutionaries set this place up! Their ideas led to a Constitution and a Bill of Rights” and “The Founders were planning to build a country and a society, not dismantle it. And they imagined a dynamic government that could change.”

“Washington flatters itself on a battle of ideas, but if you listen through the noise to hear the ideas, it’s pretty hard to hear anything. Washington is powered by special interests–and that name is too flattering. Their interests aren’t special.”

Then the gist: Narrow interests are the enemies of the future, and the American people are nowhere near as divided as Washington.

12:09 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

“Sometimes Washington flatters itself by calling politics a battle of ideas, but if you listen through the noise for the ideas you’ll have a tough time hearing them…narrow interests have been the enemy of every Republic, and that is especially true today. Even so, they cannot stop your future. It will be yours and it will be bright.” — Senator Bennet

12:06 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Bennet: our systems of education and politics are in dire need of re-invention, they no longer serve their intended purposes in inspiring enthusiasm for change and progress. “We need to reinvent education itself, when we’re caught up arguing over the minutes of a school board.”

12:05 pm BZOD wrote:

Quotes from Bennet: Reagan said “tear down this wall!” in ’87, but none of the people who spoke on the podium expected it to fall in three years. “It’s hard to predict the shape of the world, or even your place in it.”

“My arrival in the Senate was greeted by one website with this poetic statement: ‘What the hell??!’ Two question marks and an exclamation point.”

“The technology you have now would have seemed like science fiction in ’87.”

“The future is arriving faster and faster, and we’ve gotten no better at anticipating it.”

“No one predicted the Arab Spring before it sprung–and that’s the most closely watched region in the world.”

Adaptability: “Wesleyan has taught you how to live and thrive in this changing world.”

“Wesleyan has taught you that having a plan counts for less–a lot less–than having your bearings when that plan falls apart.”

To his father: “Dad, I love you, and thank you.”

12:02 pm pyrotechnics wrote:

Senator Bennet giving a jab at the Career Center: “I’ll spare you the story of how I got into this job, but I can assure you it had nothing to do with the Career Center.”

11:59 am BZOD wrote:

And last, an honorary degree for Senator Michael F. Bennet ’87: the honorary degree of laws. Probably not worth much since Wesleyan doesn’t give any degrees of laws, but hey. Michael Bennet, by the way, is a U.S. Senator for Colorado since November 2010.

Bennet says that when he graduated, he looked up at the podium to see Bill Cosby. “Now you’re seeing Colorado’s junior senator. I don’t know what that means for Wesleyan’s U.S. News and World Report rankings, Mr. President, but it can’t be good.”

11:58 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Honorary degrees awarded to Glenn Ligon ’82 (Doctor of Fine Arts), Cecile Richards P’13 (Doctor of Humane Letters), and Senator Michael F. Bennet ’87 (Doctor of Laws).

11:56 am BZOD wrote:

Cecile Richards P’13 is getting the Honorary Degree of Humane Letters. President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Thanking us for rallying in favor of Wesleyan’s support for PP and making the “I Have Sex” video. “Be unconventional, make trouble, make change” and “Go with your gut and do what’s right.”

“Change is made by folks to take action.”

11:53 am BZOD wrote:

Honorary degrees now. Doctor of Fine Arts given to Glenn Ligon ’82 for his “body of work that explores questions of race, sexuality, history, representation, and language–issues that resonate on this campus” (courtesy of the program). In his acceptance speech, Ligon mentions that he transferred out of Wesleyan in his junior year to art school, and back to Wesleyan after one semester, realizing that he learned from his professors here to “look intensely and critically at the world while listening to himself.” Also thanks his mom for supporting his art career and giving up her dreams of his becoming a lawyer and getting married (“Maybe one day everyone will be able to get married in this country,” to enthusiastic applause).

11:52 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Glenn Ligon ’82 remarks on his hope for equal marriage rights in this country.

11:48 am BZOD wrote:

Roth is talking about “fighting inequality and privilege.” After having had the banner supporting need-blind admission cut down. Nice.

11:47 am BZOD wrote:

Rothypoo is now giving his remarks. He discussed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the financial crisis, and the killing of a Wesleyan student four years ago by a man “so mentally ill that he was judged not responsible, yet was able to buy a gun and stalk a woman.”  Now he’s listing things that Wesleyan students have the “audacity” to do and ways that the class of 2012 shows “idealism” (Brighter Dawns, SHOFCO, etc.)

Key quote: “So many members of the class of 2012 have defied hipster pessimism and irony.”

11:46 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Roth: “dancing while wandering campus in large groups.” Tour de Franzia or Silent Rave? But anyways, Roth extolling the Class of 2012‘s achievements and growth, speaking on memory that fuels practical idealism and achievement.

11:43 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Now talking about the 2008 economic crisis. And now the tragic shooting of Justin-Jinich ’10. And again gives a shout out to the Silent Rave. And the ACB. Where is this speech going?

11:41 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Roth remarking upon the Class of 2012 as “mighty.” Interesting choice. Now he’s talking about September 11th and the Wars?

11:41 am BZOD wrote:

Now they’re giving the Baldwin Medal to Bruce Corwin ’62 known as “Mr. Wesleyan on the West Coast” who supports film studies, athletics, “Jewish life, and so much more.” Also, apparently he’s the one form whom Corwin Stadium, that delightful structure lengthens all walks to Usdan across the field in the fall, is named.

William K. Wasch ’52 P’84 is also getting one for helping with issues involving older people. Sorry for the unfortunately short description. But he’s the one form whom the Wasch Center is named, apparently.

11:38 am pyrotechnics wrote:

The meanderings of people in varying degrees of formal summer-wear has yet to fizzle out. Where are they all going?

11:37 am BZOD wrote:

Michael Klingher ’78 P’12 P’15 just gave a shout out to the ’62s for celebrating their 50th reunion. He’s the chair of the alumni organization and is basically selling being a part of the alumni network. And now he’s conferring the Binswanger Prize for Teaching Excellence (or something like that) to the following:

  • Professor Richie Adelstein (Economics)
  • Professor Nathanael Greene (History)
  • Professor Tula Telfair (Art)

In other news, Nate Dolton-Thornton ’15 (sitting next to me) and I suspect that the quotes that Klingher is using in his speech are from ratemyprofessor.com. Will let you know when we check this.

11:31 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Michael Klingher ’78 P’12 P’15 introduces himself after a slight awkward silence. Talking about the Alumni Association and its merits.

11:29 am BZOD wrote:

Kennedy Odede ’12 is giving the Senior Class Welcome. Obviously it’s awesome, so I’ll just try to provide a basic outline with some quotes:

He is dividing his speech into three stories. The first is about how difficult it was to get education in Kibera.

The second story: he worked in a factory when he was 18 from 7 AM – 5 PM every day with a two-hour walk each day. His friend hanged himself not wanting to live in poverty. He said that this was what made him start a “social justice movement in Kibera.” Then…

“I met a Wesleyan student who was studying abroad in Kenya who told me to apply to a school I’d never heard of… and I said YES!”

“My mother was sad to see me go, but then I translated the Wesleyan scholarship into the number of cows you could buy. As you could imagine, it’s a lot of cows. After I told her that, she practically picked me up and put me on the plane herself.”

Third story: Kennedy discusses the origins of SHOFCO during his freshman year, working with Jessica Posner ’09.

“My dream is to come to a graduation at Wesleyan 13 years from now and watch a graduate of the Kibera School for Girls receive a Wesleyan diploma.”

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, only where you want to go.”

The end of the speech: “Please repeat after me: Today, I promise to use my Wesleyan education to champion hope throughout the world.” Everyone did, in fact, repeat after him.

11:28 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Provost Rob Rosenthal recognizing the retiring faculty achieving Emeritus status.

11:27 am pyrotechnics wrote:

The Class of 2012 repeats after Odede, “today I promise to use Wesleyan dducation to champion throughout the world!”

11:25 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Odede thanking the community for providing hope to communities around the world by supporting Shining Hope for Communities.

11:24 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Odede: one of the best things about the Class of 2012 was “the kindness exhibited in explanations like this” (explaining that Usdan does not run out of food).

11:18 am BZOD wrote:

They already cut down the banner. A bit infuriating that, after Roth’s welcome lauding student protest, they shut down dialogue as soon as it begins.

11:17 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Kennedy Odede ’12: “Wesleyan is hope!”

11:17 am BZOD wrote:

Roth discussed things we’ve protested in his welcome and said “We have joined together to protest sexual harrassment…” I don’t really know exactly what he’s referring to, but it’s rather ironic given Nico’s recent Wesleying post about how poorly the administration has dealt with it.

11:17 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Ellen Jewett ’81 is next to welcome the Class of 2012, on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

11:14 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Father Halbert David Weidner reading a psalm for the invocation.

11:13 am pyrotechnics wrote:

A huge red and black banner hanging from Clark Hall stating “Stop Selling Seats, Keep Wes Need-Blind.”

11:12 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Roth gives a shout out to the Silent Rave a few weeks age (probably).

11:11 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Moment of silence for those no longer with us.

11:10 am BZOD wrote:

The drumming has stopped! Our dearth Rothkins is clapping and just asked people to be seated. The Welcome begins. The 180th Annual Commencement. Then again, commencement should be annual by definition, right…?

11:09 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Roth-speaking begins!

11:04 am pyrotechnics wrote:

The procession is nearing its end. Professors are beginning to take their seats.

11:03 am BZOD wrote:

Nope. Definitely not the end. They figured it out. Kind of a short-lived near-death experience. It also wasn’t particularly near-death. In case you haven’t guessed yet, the procession in is not the most exciting thing.

11:02 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Our Dear Leader Zach now visiting me and BZOD in a golf cart.

11:02 am BZOD wrote:

Zach and Zach Goldberg ’13 have parked a golf cart in front of us. But they can’t figure out how to back it up, so every time they try to leave they end up driving closer. Could this be the end?

10:58 am BZOD wrote:

Two people are speaking Spanish next to me. This begs the question: is it okay to eavesdrop on someone’s conversation if you can claim you’re just practicing your comprehension skills? I don’t know the answer to this, but ethics are unable to stop me from listening.

10:56 am pyrotechnics wrote:

Hello! Parents, associates and small children are now milling around Andrus as the endless stream of red and black proceeds down Foss and into their seats in front of Olin.

10:54 am BZOD wrote:

Hey guys! We’re bringing the 180th Commencement to you live. After some obnoxious wi-fi troubles, we’re chilling below a tree near Clark staring at our respective screens. The graduates are currently migrating down Foss Hill and through the seating area. In fact, I see three flags approaching Denison Terrace (the real name for the “Obama steps”) now. West African drumming is providing musical accompaniment. It’s a beautiful day.

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8 thoughts on “Wesleyan 180th Commencement: A Live-Blogging Adventure

  1. it's worth noting:

    President Roth also mentioned Upward Bound as one of the great things Wesleyan students are part of, which was recently de-funded due to lack of support from places like Wesleyan.

  2. Pingback: Peace Out, 2012! – Wesleying

    1. Anonn

      Sorry that should be ‘begs the question.’ and I guess you said begs *a* question, so.

      1. BZOD

        I meant to say “begs the question,” but it’s easy to miss things like that when you’re throwing out entries on the spot. Fixed it now though, and thanks for catching it!

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