Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement Ceremony [Liveblog]

Our-dear-leader graduates

After a week of downtime, debauchery, and some wholesome activities, Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement Ceremony is finally here! More generally, after four years of friendships made, lost, hearts broken, lessons learned, and all that other stuff Pres Michael Roth will probably mention in his opening speech, the Class of 2013 is graduating. The Commencement speaker is Joss Whedon ’87; Majora Carter ’88 and Jim Dresser ’63 will receive honorary degrees. People will be wearing funny robes. For those of you who can’t make it, we (Samira, pyrotechnicsand BZOD) will be live-blogging the event with love, admiration, and support of those graduating (and not that much cheekiness). You can also see a live WesCast of the ceremony here. Read liveblog updates after the jump. Update: Pictures also after the jump. Better quality, more majestic photos from R&C weekend are on the Wesleyan Flickr

pyrotechnics May 26, 20131:11 PM

Roth’s closing remarks, the Benediction, the Alma Mater, the Fight Song, and the Recession (and Reception)! That’s a wrap! Congratulations and fare ye well!

pyrotechnics May 26, 20131:09 PM

And that’s the Class of 2013! Congratulations to all!

BZOD May 26, 20131:09 PM

And the diplomas have been conferred!

pyrotechnics May 26, 20131:08 PM

Michael Zazzarro also goes for the hug. As does Grace Zimmerman.

pyrotechnics May 26, 20131:08 PM

7% battery left. Uh oh.

BZOD May 26, 20131:07 PM

Luke Wherry ’13 yelled something like “WHUT WHUT WHUT” into the microphone.

pyrotechnics May 26, 20131:06 PM

Evan Weber ignores Roth’s handshake and goes for the hug (he gets one).

BZOD May 26, 20131:05 PM

Ben Tweed ’13‘s middle name is King.

BZOD May 26, 20131:04 PM

Don’t actually let the heavens weep. That’d suck right now.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:59 PM

And the heavens weep! Our Dear Leader Zach passes across the stage, onto new eras of greatness….

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:58 PM

lesanjuan!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:56 PM

Aaaand the sun hides again.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:56 PM

Sun’s back out now. My computer is drying off.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:54 PM

usdanistan!

BZOD May 26, 201312:54 PM

Rachel Pincus’s middle name is “Muse.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:54 PM

goatmilk!

BZOD May 26, 201312:53 PM

He’s probably thinking about babies. Babies are hilarious.

BZOD May 26, 201312:53 PM

Announcer just laughed again for some reason.

BZOD May 26, 201312:52 PM

In other news, this… is so long.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:52 PM

Melodius!

BZOD May 26, 201312:51 PM

We just hit the O-apostrophes. MY PEOPLE!

BZOD May 26, 201312:49 PM

There’s a guy in front of us who occasionally yells, “Yeah [name]! Yeah buddy!” in the exact same inflection and everything each time. It’s kind of funny. He’s got a Wescrew hat.

BZOD May 26, 201312:48 PM

Sporadic liveblog pauses may occur due to sprinkles.

BZOD May 26, 201312:47 PM

Matt Kim ’16 is swearing about the coldness and how he should have worn more clothing.

BZOD May 26, 201312:45 PM

There are the rest of the a capella folks, chilling outside Clark.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:45 PM

My computer is getting wet now. Hopefully this spitting of rain will pass.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:45 PM

Someone did something funny because the announcer just laughed loudly into the microphone.

BZOD May 26, 201312:44 PM

On the note of Tennessee’s awesome sweater, we’ve got a picture of him, Rob Roth ’14, and Jacob Masters ’15 waiting to lead the campus sing as some a capella representatives.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:44 PM

Constant amusing chatter from the always-live microphone.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:40 PM

tuna I’m sorry we never got a chance to liveblog together. You’ll have to visit next year.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:38 PM

tuna!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:38 PM

It’s so windy that most of the graduates have to awkwardly hold their mortarboard with one hand, tuck their diploma under the arm, and try to shake President Roth’s hand with the other.

Samira May 26, 201312:35 PM

Fact of note: there are 785 people in the graduating class. So this will take some time.

BZOD May 26, 201312:33 PM

My housemate just made it across the stage. He has not slept for at least one night.

BZOD May 26, 201312:31 PM

Tennessee Mowrey ’14 is wearing a super stylish sweater. I shall try and get a picture of it.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:30 PM

killofrights!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:29 PM

Two dogs being very aggressive to my right.

BZOD May 26, 201312:29 PM

And with that, I’m back in the present.

BZOD May 26, 201312:29 PM

Whedon: On changing the world: “You don’t have a choice. You are going to change the world. That’s what the world is. You don’t pass through this life, it passes through you.”

BZOD May 26, 201312:29 PM

Whedon: “Freedom is not freedom from connection. Serial killing is freedom from connection. Certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection.”

BZOD May 26, 201312:28 PM

Whedon: “The world could use some changing. I don’t know if your parents have explained this to you about the world but… we broke it? We’re sorry?”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:28 PM

DMZ!

BZOD May 26, 201312:28 PM

Whedon on hat and the wind: “All right, I’m losing this now, because otherwise it’s coming off in a dramatic way at the wrong time.”

BZOD May 26, 201312:28 PM

A few Whedon quotes that didn’t go through before because of internet problems: “Your body wants to die. Your body wants to make some babies and then go in the ground and fertilize things.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:28 PM

gabzalot!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:26 PM

A huge crowd of Alpha Delters on Foss are cheering wildly for every member of ADP.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:24 PM

Mickey Capper seemingly refused to approach unless called Mickey rather than Michael.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:23 PM

Wesleying’s ehc a.k.a ecarmi!

Samira May 26, 201312:22 PM

Our very own A-Batte! (Also Syed earlier) WE LOVE YOU!!!!!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:21 PM

Some chaos occurring on stage.

Samira May 26, 201312:20 PM

Retroactive blogging: Congrats to Aria Danaparamita, Zoe Mueller, and Kyra Sutton for receiving University honors!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:20 PM

A-Batte!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:20 PM

Andy Szegedy-Mazak announces someone and a stage-master announces “he’s not here.” Awkwardness ensues.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:18 PM

Our very own Syed!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:18 PM

A very light rain beginning now.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:17 PM

The first three are those achieving University Honors.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:16 PM

And now the BAs! 785 members of the Class of 2013!

Samira May 26, 201312:15 PM

Rob Rosenthal is really having fun pronouncing all these names. Lots of emphasis on every syllable.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:14 PM

Samuel Reed Ahles ’10 is the dude in the sombrero, now getting his Masters.

Samira May 26, 201312:14 PM

wooo everyone who is receiving their Master of Arts diplomas right now!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:11 PM

It is large.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:11 PM

One of the graduate recipients is currently wearing a sombrero as he approaches the stage.

Samira May 26, 201312:10 PM

All of these speeches are so succinct. And still meaningful. Good job Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:10 PM

The conferral of various degrees is about to begin… this is going to take a while.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:10 PM

“Understand it, see it, appreciate, and have fun. Thank you” — Whedon closes.

Samira May 26, 201312:09 PM

“Don’t just be yourself. Be all of your selves. Don’t just live, be that other thing: connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:09 PM

“Don’t just live, be that other thing connected to death, be life.”

BZOD May 26, 201312:09 PM

Retroactive liveblogging. I blame Jeanine for my internet problems. The Film Center doesn’t have internet because wifi doesn’t work in her presence. She’s kind of like a jamming device, only a jamming device that is also really good at analyzing film and knows a lot of famous people.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:09 PM

“You will be the broken world, and the act of changing it, in a way you haven’t been before.”

Samira May 26, 201312:08 PM

“So here’s the thing about changing the world: It turns out that it’s not a question. Because you are going to change the world. You don’t pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, and then it is different.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:08 PM

“Several large investment firms have established freedom from connection… but we as people have not.”

Samira May 26, 201312:07 PM

“Serial killing is freedom from connection. certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:06 PM

“It likes things to be simple, to be pigeon-holed, good or bad, black or white, red or blue. But we’re more interesting than that.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:05 PM

“It’s a weird time in our country.”

Samira May 26, 201312:05 PM

“I don’t know if your parents explained this to you about the world, but we broke it….we’re sorry…”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:04 PM

“Whatever your ambition, someone’s going to question it. And unless you have already done that….”

Samira May 26, 201312:04 PM

“Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything becomes a lot better.”

Samira May 26, 201312:03 PM

“Understanding yourself so you can become yourself. Now, more than ever!”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:02 PM

“Listen to dissent. At least give it the floor. To accept duality is to earn identity.”

Samira May 26, 201312:02 PM

“For some part of your life you’re going to be doing the opposite of what you are. And what you need to do is to honor that, to understand it and unearth it.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201312:02 PM

Whedon’s speech is riddled with jokes, but the point (so far) seems to be about contradiction and divergence, honoring the “other voice.”

Samira May 26, 201312:00 PM

“Your body’s ambition: mulch. Your body wants to make some babies and then go in the ground and fertilize things. You want to go out into the world while your body’s saying: let’s go down a notch.”

Samira May 26, 201311:59 AM

“You are youth and beauty. You are at your physical peak. You’ve just gotten off the ski slope of potential and now comes the downhill slope.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:59 AM

“You look good, really… and now comes the black-mogul run to the grave.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:58 AM

Whedon: “You have in fact already begun to die.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:58 AM

Whedon: “You are all going to die.”

Samira May 26, 201311:58 AM

Whedon’s commencement speaker in ’87 was Bill Cosby. His message was: “You’re not gonna change the world, so don’t try! And then he complained about buying his daughter a car and then we left.”

Samira May 26, 201311:57 AM

Whedon: “This commencement speech is going really well. It is, it really is.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:57 AM

Awkward muttering from the stage. Much breathing again. Whedon begins with “Thank you Jeanine for making me do this.”

Samira May 26, 201311:57 AM

Roth: “For your ability to inspire awe, fear, and delight, Wesleyan is proud to honor you with the degree of Doctor of Letters.” Whedon: “oh, here it is”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:55 AM

After some microphone difficulties, Joss Hill Whedon ’87 introduced to enormous cheers from Foss Hill.

BZOD May 26, 201311:54 AM

Backtracking a bit because I got booted from the internet: At the end of a speech about privilege and how violence, conformity, and elitism shape the social hierarchy, Roth says, “As long as I am president of this university, financial aid and raising money for it will be my highest priority.” Of course, if you don’t have money, you’re disadvantaged in the admissions process… which kind of solidifies the social hierarchy, right? A bit empty as a statement.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:54 AM

Carter’s closing: “Don’t be a punk, okay? Thank you very much.” *walks off stage*

Samira May 26, 201311:54 AM

“All that’s necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing. Wesleyan has definitely prepared you to think independently, but you need to prepare for the reaction that that independence will acquire. No matter where you are, you will upset someone. And believe me, haters gonna hate.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:54 AM

Carter’s core message is “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:53 AM

Carter: “It’s important to know who your friends aren’t.” *much giggling from the stage*

I think I distinctly heard Josh Boger giggling. This is an experience.

Samira May 26, 201311:52 AM

Addressing the NYTimes article that criticized her: “I guess a black woman from the South Bronx is still news.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:52 AM

Carter: “[When I was at Wesleyan] I never thought I was as cool as the activist kids.”

Samira May 26, 201311:51 AM

Carter: “When I came to Wesleyan I didn’t feel like I belonged here. I didn’t feel like I was smart enough and I certainly wasn’t cool like all the activist kids.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:51 AM

Few words. Much breathing.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:50 AM

Awkward breathing into the microphone.

Samira May 26, 201311:50 AM

Dresser: “The alumni with whom I’m proud to share the podium with today Majora Carter ’88, Michael Roth ’78, and Joss Whedon ’87, exemplify the Wesleyan alumni who have made an impact”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:48 AM

Majora Carter ’88 is up next.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:48 AM

Dresser encourages alums to visit often. “You’ll get more out of it than you put in.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:48 AM

Dresser: “In the [days of my Grandfather] they were the Fighting Methodists and their color was lavender. This was probably changed because it’s difficult to arrange fight songs around ‘the lavender fighting Methodists.’ And lavender is a little too close to the colors of our rivals, Williams and Amherst.” *giggles* *crowd giggles*

Samira May 26, 201311:45 AM

Jim Dresser ’63 is receiving his honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters now. Dresser Diamond is named after him. He’s currently the chair of the Board of Trustees.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:43 AM

Apparent dog fight going on up on Foss Hill. Lots of barking.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:43 AM

Roth: “Come home often to share your memories and your dreams. Congratulations and good luck!”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:41 AM

Roth pledges that “As long as I am President of this University, financial aid and raising money for it will be my highest priority.”

Samira May 26, 201311:41 AM

“non-violence, diversity, and equality. These are ideals shared by the Wesleyan community and alumni. Diversity, freedom, equality, yadda yadda.” This would make a decent thesis for a Modern and the Post-modern essay.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:40 AM

Roth also gets in a few comments on need-blind, sexual assault, diversity, social privilege hierarchies, and other present campus issues.

Samira May 26, 201311:40 AM

“Access to education has never been more important. And that’s why financial aid and raising money for it will be my highest priority.” *cheers from the crowd*

Samira May 26, 201311:38 AM

“we have seen how violence affects lives: racism, trauma of sexual assault. We have seen how for all our purported liberalism, we cater to a culture of privilege, which preserves social hierarchies as it destroys individual lives.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:38 AM

Roth manages to sneak a direct reference to Wescam into his Commencement address.

Samira May 26, 201311:37 AM

Must strive toward these three ideals: “non-violence, diversity, and equality.” BUZZ WORDS!

Samira May 26, 201311:36 AM

Michael Roth on now: “I have some brief remarks for the great class of 2013…Wesleyan has been largely isolated from many of the troubles of this world. While you’ve been students, the US has been engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s remember that these wars have cost the lives of many in these countries.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:33 AM

Roth awkwardly interjects to award all of the prizes and degrees and whatnot after the speaker talks about the recipient(s).

BZOD May 26, 201311:32 AM

Hey Wesleyan, wind shields for mics are a thing: http://www.amazon.com/GLS-Audio-Mic-Windscreens-Microphone/dp/B003PNFM7A/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1369582339&sr=8-2&keywords=microphone+windshield

Samira May 26, 201311:32 AM

 Jeanine Basinger got the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching for the second time. Go figure

BZOD May 26, 201311:32 AM

Professor Erik Grimmer-Solem (history and CSS) is up next.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:31 AM

The wind is really screwing with the microphone, lots of static white noise.

BZOD May 26, 201311:31 AM

She announced Jeanine Basinger, which lead to cheers from Foss Hill. This is the second time Jeanine is getting the award. Yay!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:31 AM

Norris introducing Professors Basinger, Grimmer-Solem, and Wagoner for the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

BZOD May 26, 201311:30 AM

Megan P. Norris ’83, P ’17 (!) is giving out Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:30 AM

Megan Norris ’83 P’17, Chair of the Alumni Association claims that the alumni inhabit “every corner of the internet.” Every corner? I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

BZOD May 26, 201311:29 AM

Roth is now giving Master of Arts Ad Eundem Gradum to Professors Petra Bonfert-Taylor, Eric S. Charry, Stephen Henri Devoto, and Edward Clayton Taylor. This is given to faculty who are not graduates of Wesleyan (at the bachelor’s level) and who have attained the rank of full professor. It makes them alumni of the University. Let’s rewrite the shit out of history.

BZOD May 26, 201311:27 AM

Samira and I are passing back and forth a box of Kashi GoLean Crunch! It has as much protein as an egg, according to the box, and is both delicious and nutritious.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:27 AM

Roth confers Emeritus status on said faculty.

BZOD May 26, 201311:26 AM

Retiring faculty: John Seamon, William Stowe, Duffield White, Janice D. Willis, Carol S. Wood, Michael Keane, Elizabeth Milroy, and Paul Schwaber.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:26 AM

Provost Rob Rosenthal is now recognizing the retiring faculty.

BZOD May 26, 201311:26 AM

Swartz finished, so now we’re moving on to the Recognition of Retiring Faculty who have “achieved emeritus status.”

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:25 AM

“It is we who are the bringers of change and the makers of the future. Congratulations to the Class of 2013, you deserve it!”

BZOD May 26, 201311:24 AM

Swartz: “Passivity is not the Wesleyan way.”

BZOD May 26, 201311:24 AM

Swartz is saying that “the best four years of our life have not ended.” Rather, that we [the class of 2013 specifically] should use our Wesleyan education and direct it outwards to change the world.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:24 AM

Swartz: “We have a responsibility.”

Samira May 26, 201311:24 AM

the sun is out on my laptop and I can’t see the screen

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:23 AM

The sun is out!

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:23 AM

Finally wrestled internet back into my computer. Samira has temporarily departed to upload pictures from the wifi-swathed expanses of WestCo.

BZOD May 26, 201311:21 AM

Swartz referenced Obama’s speech for the Commencement in ’08. Cheers from over near Hewitt.

BZOD May 26, 201311:21 AM

Swartz referenced “…there were times when we thought no one in our house would do the dishes.” Cheers.

Samira May 26, 201311:21 AM

View from the top of Foss

BZOD May 26, 201311:20 AM

Boy am I glad that it isn’t as cold as yesterday right now.

BZOD May 26, 201311:19 AM

Swartz: Took off her hat, handed it to Roth, declared “Michael is going to hold my hat.”

BZOD May 26, 201311:19 AM

For the record, that wasn’t because of Bogie, but because Anna Swartz ’13 just took the mic for the Senior Class Welcome.

BZOD May 26, 201311:19 AM

Someone is cheering, and someone just made a loud “whoop” into a mic. Don’t know where that came from.

BZOD May 26, 201311:18 AM

Joshua S. Boger ’73, P’06, P’09 is doing the Board of Trustees welcome.

BZOD May 26, 201311:18 AM

Reverend was Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska.

BZOD May 26, 201311:17 AM

I don’t know why I chose that quote. These might be better: “If you’re scared to leave, don’t; this is the right time.” “Wesleyan isn’t only a memory. It took all your hopes and dreams and transformed them into convictions.”

BZOD May 26, 201311:16 AM

The Reverend is reading a poem by Amy Block ’13. “Whatever you wanted can’t compare to what really happened; it can’t even come close.”

BZOD May 26, 201311:16 AM

Zach: “Tell the world that I am cold, don’t know what to do w. a tassle.”

BZOD May 26, 201311:15 AM

We’re thanking students and stuff. Tepid applause.

BZOD May 26, 201311:15 AM

Also with the liveblogging team is Nicole Updegrove ’14, Rachel Warren ’14, Matt Kim ’16, and Nate Dolton-Thornton ’15. Yay!

BZOD May 26, 201311:13 AM

Roth is lauding campus activism for the second year in a row, saying how happy he is that our achievements make this place a unique place to live or something. Definitely felt differently about activism when people were crashing the Board of Trustees meeting.

pyrotechnics May 26, 201311:12 AM

Welcome! After many technical difficulties, we are finally live at Commencement 2013.

BZOD May 26, 201311:12 AM

Roth was talking about how we have “links to the departed.” pyrotecnics: “Is it bad that I thought that he was talking about a link to a page?”

BZOD May 26, 201311:12 AM

Connection issues abound. Procession just ended. We were asked to be seated, but were already seated. Oops.

  • Mickey

    To clarify, I was not trying to be all stubborn and special by only walking to “Mickey”, but rather was simply too delirious from sr week and hi-fiving joss whedon to realize my name had been called.

    • To clarify, I turned to Paul Silverman ’13 at that instant and, in a moment of panic, wondered if the “Michael Capper” I have been emailing and gchatting all these years is an individual other than “Mickey Capper.”