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, pyrotechnics, and 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.
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!
And that’s the Class of 2013! Congratulations to all!
And the diplomas have been conferred!
Michael Zazzarro also goes for the hug. As does Grace Zimmerman.
7% battery left. Uh oh.
Luke Wherry ’13 yelled something like “WHUT WHUT WHUT” into the microphone.
Evan Weber ignores Roth’s handshake and goes for the hug (he gets one).
Ben Tweed ’13‘s middle name is King.
Don’t actually let the heavens weep. That’d suck right now.
And the heavens weep! Our Dear Leader Zach passes across the stage, onto new eras of greatness….
Aaaand the sun hides again.
Sun’s back out now. My computer is drying off.
Rachel Pincus’s middle name is “Muse.”
He’s probably thinking about babies. Babies are hilarious.
Announcer just laughed again for some reason.
In other news, this… is so long.
We just hit the O-apostrophes. MY PEOPLE!
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.
Sporadic liveblog pauses may occur due to sprinkles.
Matt Kim ’16 is swearing about the coldness and how he should have worn more clothing.
There are the rest of the a capella folks, chilling outside Clark.
My computer is getting wet now. Hopefully this spitting of rain will pass.
Someone did something funny because the announcer just laughed loudly into the microphone.
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.
Constant amusing chatter from the always-live microphone.
tuna I’m sorry we never got a chance to liveblog together. You’ll have to visit next year.
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.
Fact of note: there are 785 people in the graduating class. So this will take some time.
My housemate just made it across the stage. He has not slept for at least one night.
Tennessee Mowrey ’14 is wearing a super stylish sweater. I shall try and get a picture of it.
Two dogs being very aggressive to my right.
And with that, I’m back in the present.
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.”
Whedon: “Freedom is not freedom from connection. Serial killing is freedom from connection. Certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection.”
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?”
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.”
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.”
A huge crowd of Alpha Delters on Foss are cheering wildly for every member of ADP.
Mickey Capper seemingly refused to approach unless called Mickey rather than Michael.
Wesleying’s ehc a.k.a ecarmi!
Our very own A-Batte! (Also Syed earlier) WE LOVE YOU!!!!!
Some chaos occurring on stage.
Retroactive blogging: Congrats to Aria Danaparamita, Zoe Mueller, and Kyra Sutton for receiving University honors!
Andy Szegedy-Mazak announces someone and a stage-master announces “he’s not here.” Awkwardness ensues.
Our very own Syed!
A very light rain beginning now.
The first three are those achieving University Honors.
And now the BAs! 785 members of the Class of 2013!
Rob Rosenthal is really having fun pronouncing all these names. Lots of emphasis on every syllable.
Samuel Reed Ahles ’10 is the dude in the sombrero, now getting his Masters.
wooo everyone who is receiving their Master of Arts diplomas right now!
It is large.
One of the graduate recipients is currently wearing a sombrero as he approaches the stage.
All of these speeches are so succinct. And still meaningful. Good job Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement!
The conferral of various degrees is about to begin… this is going to take a while.
“Understand it, see it, appreciate, and have fun. Thank you” — Whedon closes.
“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.”
“Don’t just live, be that other thing connected to death, be life.”
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.
“You will be the broken world, and the act of changing it, in a way you haven’t been before.”
“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.”
“Several large investment firms have established freedom from connection… but we as people have not.”
“Serial killing is freedom from connection. certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection.”
“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.”
“It’s a weird time in our country.”
“I don’t know if your parents explained this to you about the world, but we broke it….we’re sorry…”
“Whatever your ambition, someone’s going to question it. And unless you have already done that….”
“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.”
“Understanding yourself so you can become yourself. Now, more than ever!”
“Listen to dissent. At least give it the floor. To accept duality is to earn identity.”
“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.”
Whedon’s speech is riddled with jokes, but the point (so far) seems to be about contradiction and divergence, honoring the “other voice.”
“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.”
“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.”
“You look good, really… and now comes the black-mogul run to the grave.”
Whedon: “You have in fact already begun to die.”
Whedon: “You are all going to die.”
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.”
Whedon: “This commencement speech is going really well. It is, it really is.”
Awkward muttering from the stage. Much breathing again. Whedon begins with “Thank you Jeanine for making me do this.”
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”
After some microphone difficulties, Joss Hill Whedon ’87 introduced to enormous cheers from Foss Hill.
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.
Carter’s closing: “Don’t be a punk, okay? Thank you very much.” *walks off stage*
“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.”
Carter’s core message is “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
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.
Addressing the NYTimes article that criticized her: “I guess a black woman from the South Bronx is still news.”
Carter: “[When I was at Wesleyan] I never thought I was as cool as the activist kids.”
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.”
Few words. Much breathing.
Awkward breathing into the microphone.
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”
Majora Carter ’88 is up next.
Dresser encourages alums to visit often. “You’ll get more out of it than you put in.”
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*
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.
Apparent dog fight going on up on Foss Hill. Lots of barking.
Roth: “Come home often to share your memories and your dreams. Congratulations and good luck!”
Roth pledges that “As long as I am President of this University, financial aid and raising money for it will be my highest priority.”
“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.
Roth also gets in a few comments on need-blind, sexual assault, diversity, social privilege hierarchies, and other present campus issues.
“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*
“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.”
Roth manages to sneak a direct reference to Wescam into his Commencement address.
Must strive toward these three ideals: “non-violence, diversity, and equality.” BUZZ WORDS!
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.”
Roth awkwardly interjects to award all of the prizes and degrees and whatnot after the speaker talks about the recipient(s).
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
Jeanine Basinger got the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching for the second time. Go figure
Professor Erik Grimmer-Solem (history and CSS) is up next.
The wind is really screwing with the microphone, lots of static white noise.
She announced Jeanine Basinger, which lead to cheers from Foss Hill. This is the second time Jeanine is getting the award. Yay!
Norris introducing Professors Basinger, Grimmer-Solem, and Wagoner for the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Megan P. Norris ’83, P ’17 (!) is giving out Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching.
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.
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.
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.
Roth confers Emeritus status on said faculty.
Retiring faculty: John Seamon, William Stowe, Duffield White, Janice D. Willis, Carol S. Wood, Michael Keane, Elizabeth Milroy, and Paul Schwaber.
Provost Rob Rosenthal is now recognizing the retiring faculty.
Swartz finished, so now we’re moving on to the Recognition of Retiring Faculty who have “achieved emeritus status.”
“It is we who are the bringers of change and the makers of the future. Congratulations to the Class of 2013, you deserve it!”
Swartz: “Passivity is not the Wesleyan way.”
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.
Swartz: “We have a responsibility.”
the sun is out on my laptop and I can’t see the screen
The sun is out!
Finally wrestled internet back into my computer. Samira has temporarily departed to upload pictures from the wifi-swathed expanses of WestCo.
Swartz referenced Obama’s speech for the Commencement in ’08. Cheers from over near Hewitt.
Swartz referenced “…there were times when we thought no one in our house would do the dishes.” Cheers.
View from the top of Foss
Boy am I glad that it isn’t as cold as yesterday right now.
Swartz: Took off her hat, handed it to Roth, declared “Michael is going to hold my hat.”
For the record, that wasn’t because of Bogie, but because Anna Swartz ’13 just took the mic for the Senior Class Welcome.
Someone is cheering, and someone just made a loud “whoop” into a mic. Don’t know where that came from.
Joshua S. Boger ’73, P’06, P’09 is doing the Board of Trustees welcome.
Reverend was Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska.
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.”
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.”
Zach: “Tell the world that I am cold, don’t know what to do w. a tassle.”
We’re thanking students and stuff. Tepid applause.
Also with the liveblogging team is Nicole Updegrove ’14, Rachel Warren ’14, Matt Kim ’16, and Nate Dolton-Thornton ’15. Yay!
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.
Welcome! After many technical difficulties, we are finally live at Commencement 2013.
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?”
Connection issues abound. Procession just ended. We were asked to be seated, but were already seated. Oops.