Wesleyan University Commencement 2015 [Liveblog]


Rather than halfheartedly trying to quote lyrics from “In the Heights” or some other thing written by this year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, we’ll just skip ahead to: “Hey y’all, good morning!” It’s the 183rd Commencement at Wesleyan University, and we’re outdoors at Denison Terrace/Andrus Field/Foss Hill live-blogging all the speeches, processions, and every single name read (okay, none of the names) at today’s graduation ceremony.

Along with Miranda, Spellman College president Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75 and Goodspeed Musicals executive director Michael P. Price are receiving honorary degrees. Things should be getting started around 11 a.m.

Congratulations to the Class of 2015, and even more congratulations to all the many Wesleying editors and contributors who are graduating as well! You can watch a livestream of the ceremony here

Update: You read all the speeches and watch Miranda’s address below. And here’s the official Wesleyan newsletter article on the event.

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  • Read all of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s address is here. And you can watch the video below.
  • Beverly Daniel Tatum’s address is here.
  • Michael P. Price’s address is here.
  • President Michael S. Roth’s address to the Class of 2015 is here.
  • The text of the senior class welcome by Marissa Castrigno ’15 is here.
  • There’s also info on the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients is here.
  • And finally, here’s the Wesleyan University official Flickr album for R&C.

Gabe May 24, 201512:43 PM

That’s it for Wesleying’s liveblog, folks. We’ll be editing this post later to include links to speeches and some photographs, but thank you for joining us! And congratulations, Wesleyan University’s Class of 2015.

Gabe May 24, 201512:42 PM

At some point I’m assuming there will be the Fight Song yelled from every rooftop. And then they walk out onto the field and are taken up by aliens or something. I dunno, where do graduates go after they become graduates? Williamsburg, probably.

Gabe May 24, 201512:41 PM

Alright here’s how the rest of the program is going down. After all the names are all read, Rev. Mehr-Muska will be leading the benediction, we’ll all sing the Alma Mater, and then it’s time to throw hats into the air!

Gabe May 24, 201512:31 PM

A very special congratulations to our Dear Leader Samira, who is graduating right now, along with a handful of other Wesleying staffers. WE MISS YOU ALREADY.

Gabe May 24, 201512:26 PM

Last chance to tune in online: watch the livecast here

Gabe May 24, 201512:25 PM
Gabe May 24, 201512:24 PM
Gabe May 24, 201512:19 PM

I said I was gonna blog all the names read, but let’s be honest. I’m not doing that.

Gabe May 24, 201512:18 PM

799 Bachelors of Arts. This might take a while.

Gabe May 24, 201512:15 PM

Here’s the order of name reading: Doctors of philosophy, Masters of Arts, Masters of Arts in liberal studies, and then Bachelors of Arts.

Gabe May 24, 201512:12 PM

Miranda out. Now it’s time to bestow doctors of philosophy.

Gabe May 24, 201512:12 PM

Miranda: “Seek your teeth into this life, and don’t let go. Congratulations.” Huge standing ovation and round of applause. Incredible speech.

Gabe May 24, 201512:10 PM

Miranda: “I’m sorry I couldn’t be your college orientation speaker, but I’m so proud to be your real life orientation speaker.”

Gabe May 24, 201512:10 PM

Miranda: “My sleepy graduates, my terrified graduates. I wish I could tell you the key to life after Wesleyan was just saying, ‘I’m not throwing away my shot!’ To be like Alexander Hamilton. But it took 8 years of hard work to bring it to the Broadway stage.”

Gabe May 24, 201512:09 PM

Miranda: you will always be rushing and waiting at the same time.

Gabe May 24, 201512:06 PM

After living in La Casa sophomore year, Miranda began tapping into his Latino heritage. So he wrote In the Heights, then put it in the drawer for two years.

Gabe May 24, 201512:05 PM

Miranda: “My education is [my parent’s] second mortage. They’re killing themselves to afford it.”

Gabe May 24, 201512:04 PM

Miranda: “I fell in love with the instant gratification of student theater.”

Gabe May 24, 201512:03 PM

Miranda is talking about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Both orphaned at a young age, and both grew up in privilege, both were expert lawyers and politicians. And in 1804, one killed another in a duel.

Gabe May 24, 201512:03 PM

Miranda is talking about the ticking clocks of your mind that drive you forward.

Gabe May 24, 201512:03 PM

Okay he’s super good. Just rapping the fuck of of this stage.

Gabe May 24, 201512:02 PM

Miranda: “If you made a bet that I’d be rapping during my commencement address… your friend is losing money.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:59 AM

Miranda: “Sink your teeth into this school tight and don’t let go.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:59 AM


Gabe May 24, 201511:58 AM

Miranda is giving post-frosh advice to everyone on Foss: Being lost with a bunch of people you’d rather be naked with is a bad idea.

Gabe May 24, 201511:57 AM

Miranda wishes he could be the orientation speaker first.

Gabe May 24, 201511:57 AM

Miranda gives a shoutout to WesWings and Neon!

Gabe May 24, 201511:56 AM

Miranda: “Ha!”

Gabe May 24, 201511:56 AM

Bringing up Miranda! Kwok: “You surprise and delight your audiences with dazzling entertainment while inviting us to take a closer look at the lives we lead as individuals and as a nation.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:53 AM
Gabe May 24, 201511:52 AM

Tatum: “Today, I want to say to you, the Class of 2015: Expect the unexpected.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:51 AM
Gabe May 24, 201511:51 AM

That last tweet didn’t have anything to do with what’s happenign right now, it’s just pretty excellent

Gabe May 24, 201511:50 AM
Gabe May 24, 201511:50 AM

Next up for an honorary degree is Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04, who is the retiring President of the HBC Spelman College.

Gabe May 24, 201511:48 AM

My friends are being SO chatty so I have no idea what Price is saying.

Gabe May 24, 201511:46 AM

Giving an honorary degree to Goodspeed Musical director Michael Price. You can blame him (or thank? I guess?) for “Annie” being on Broadway

Gabe May 24, 201511:45 AM

Roth: “And in summary, FUCK YOUR MALE PRIVILEGE. FUCK THE PATRIARCHY. GO WES! And please visit later, love ya bai”

Gabe May 24, 201511:42 AM

Now a push for coeducation and basically giving a middle finger to the fraternities here.

Gabe May 24, 201511:42 AM

Roth mentioning the #BringBackOurGirls issue, and the ability of women and girls to have equal access to education.

Gabe May 24, 201511:41 AM

Roth’s address is something like, You guys are great in demanding safety. But like, chill on the PC stuff. We don’t want to be THAT school.

Gabe May 24, 201511:40 AM

Roth wants safety, but not the comfort zone: “We must not protect ourselves by disagreement, we must prepare to be offended for the sake of learning, and to give offense for the sake of preservation. Education is risky, not safe. Education doesn’t pause behind a veneer of… political correctness.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:39 AM

Roth: Students’ calls for justice, better support of sexual assault survivors, and about Black Lives Matter, have been important to the campus for the past four years.

Gabe May 24, 201511:38 AM

Roth: “Many of us have participated in events where have spoke out our grievances against Wesleyan and the world.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:37 AM
Gabe May 24, 201511:36 AM

I took some pictures also

Gabe May 24, 201511:35 AM
Gabe May 24, 201511:35 AM

The Raymond E. Baldwin medal is being presented to Alan M. Dachs ’70, Hon ’07, P’98, who is the president, CEO and director of Fremont Group, an investment firm. I think he helps make us money?

Gabe May 24, 201511:34 AM

Gabe May 24, 201511:34 AM

Pretty excited for Miranda’s commencement address today. Rumor has it that there WILL be rapping. Also he just finished writing it this morning.

Gabe May 24, 201511:32 AM

That’s Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02‘s picture of the ceremonies right now. https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/602492377111130112

Gabe May 24, 201511:31 AM

Gabe May 24, 201511:29 AM

Daphne Kwok ’84, chair of the Wesleyan alumni association is awarding the Binswanger awards for excellence in teaching to: Michael A. Calter, David Schorr, and Gina Athena Ulysse.

Gabe May 24, 201511:28 AM

Louis Brown, Martha Scott Gilmore, Yuri Kordonsky, James Lipton, Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Brian Auber Stewart, and Greg Anthony Voth are all getting honorary masters of arts *ad eundem gradum* (so that every full professor here is an alumnus of the University)

Gabe May 24, 201511:26 AM

Just kidding we love everyone. We just love the Class of 2015 more.

Gabe May 24, 201511:26 AM

Wish you could see how beautiful the day is. Bright blue skies and warm as hell. Way better than last year’s. You suck, Class of 2014. Too bad.

Gabe May 24, 201511:26 AM

Roth: “It is my honor to recognize your contributions to the educational honor of this school and confer upon you Emeritus status.” Bam! Retired.

Gabe May 24, 201511:25 AM

Now, the list of retired faculty and HUGE applause for each: John F. Carr III, J. James Donady, Richard Hall Elphick, Brian Fay, Gale Lackey, Laurie Nussdorfer, George A. Petersson, Vera Schwarcz, Ann Wightman

Gabe May 24, 201511:24 AM

Castrigno: “We are leaving Wesleyan but not losing Wesleyan. We graduates have traveled together… to reach this moment. We are the Wesleyan that we know.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:22 AM

Castrigno: “We will continue to rely on each other for guidance in the future, to keep sight of ourselves and our abilities, when something seems sexist or racist or classist or feels wrong and we don’t know what to do with it.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:21 AM

Marissa Castrigno ’15 giving the senior class welcome, remembering about sitting on the Denison Terrace ledge during the first year she transferred here. “Now my biggest fear is that we will go forth from this place and lose everything that it has afforded us.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:20 AM

Chair of board of Trustees Joshua Boger: “This magnificent day is not the end but the beginning of the fun that awaits you for the rest of your lives. Wesleyan has prepared you well.”

Gabe May 24, 201511:19 AM

“Join me in thanking them, your teachers at Wesleyan.” Round of applause.

Gabe May 24, 201511:19 AM

Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska giving the invocation.

Gabe May 24, 201511:13 AM

Taking a moment to reflect on those who have died in the past year, including Rex Bernstein ’15, who passed away over spring break this year

Gabe May 24, 201511:13 AM

President Michael Roth welcomes everyone to commencement: “You are joining the Wesleyan community in a new way.”

Gabe May 24, 201510:57 AM

As always the procession music is provided by the African drumming ensemble which I think is the coolest thing

Gabe May 24, 201510:52 AM

And we are off! The music has started and the red robbed seniors (and grad students too!) have begun marching down and around Foss.