At 9:45am today, Michael Roth sent an all-campus email announcing this year’s Commencement speaker as well as the 2017 Honorary Degree recipients. Poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine will deliver the 185th Commencement address on May 28, 2017.
Additionally, Wesleyan will honor Jo Handelsman, a former Associate Director for Science at the White House, and Cristina Jiménez, the executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration organization in the country. The Alumni Association’s Baldwin Award will be presented to John Driscoll ’62 and Gina Driscoll.
Here’s the full text of the email:
from the wesleyan photo tumblr, probably by Will Barr ’18
The time is here, the time is now: Wesleyan’s class of 2016 is graduating today! Over the course of the past weekend, the median age on Foss has gone up to something like 30, an old dude asked one of my friends where to find drugs, and everyone is hungover. The ceremony begins at 11am and features commencement speaker Bryan Stevenson.
You can watch a livestream here, and read our liveblog after the jump:
After months of hilarious gossip circulating about Bernie Sanders being our commencement speaker, MRoth is putting rumors to rest: Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and a professor at NYU Law School (and owner of an impressive AF Wikipedia page), will be delivering the commencement address. Stevenson will also receive an honorary degree from the university.
Some other cool news (that astag_rocky is currently shitting his pants over): Patti Smith (yes, THE Patti Smith) will be attending and receiving an honorary degree, as will Kwame Anthony Appiah, renowned philosopher whose long list of amazing accomplishments include winning the National Humanities Medal in 2012.
And no surprise here: John Usdan of the Usdan University Center Usdans is receiving the Baldwin Medal, the highest honor from Wesleyan’s alumni association, which recognizes “outstanding service to Wesleyan.”
You can read MRoth’s full email after the jump (it’s hella long).
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.
Student activism has led Stanford‘s Board of Trustees to vote to stop investing in coal-mining companies. This action is a significant step in the ever-growing fossil fuel divesment movement on campuses across the country.
In the growingly visible national conversation on sexual assault on college campuses, including a recently launched campaign by the White House to confront the issue, many local movements have been getting increasing attention.
About two months ago, President Michael Roth sent out an email to the entire campus announcing the honorary degree recipients for 2014, as well as the commencement speaker for the Class of 2014. This year’s commencement address will be given by Theodore M. Shaw ’76, a leading proponent of civil rights, previous Wesleyan trustee (twice!), and also a prior recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan. You can read the entirety of Roth’s email below.
Shaw’s dedication and work to civil rights and human rights is indeed impressive. Currently a professor at Columbia University, where he also received his J.D. in 1979, he was previously an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for over two decades. What’s most notable about Shaw’s work—that perhaps most directly affects us as college students—was his involvement in creating University of Michigan Law School’s controversial affirmative action policy in the early 2000s, something that has been controversial again just last month.
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.
Imam Adeel Zeb, Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain, writes in about the annual Senior Voices ceremony:
Please save the date of May 25th 6PM for an integral part of the graduation weekend.
Senior voices is a ceremony in which a faculty member elected by members of the senior class, delivers a short talk addressed directly and specifically to graduating seniors. This year, we are delighted that Professor Elvin Lim has agreed to speak. In addition, three graduating seniors (Glenn Stowell ‘13, Jacob Eichengreen ’13, and Isaiah Sypher ‘13) will share their experiences before ending their Wesleyan career and beginning a new chapter of their lives. They will reflect, share and recap some of their unique and transformative moments from their years at Wes. Olivia May ’13, will be performing as well. Seniors will receive a red rose as a parting gift.
The event will take place in Memorial Chapel and will conclude by 7PM. This event is non-ticketed.
Please share this with friends and families as they will enjoy being part of the celebration as well.”
Date: Saturday, May 25
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Memorial Chapel
Image via HartfordBusiness.com.
Changes are coming to Reunion and Commencement. Instead of plastic water bottles this year, you will find two water filtration systems, called the “Wishing Wells,” where students can fill a reusable water container.
As you probably have noticed by now, Wesleyan implemented a campus-wide ban on water bottles this past year that has been met with a pretty positive response. Plastic water bottles create environmental waste and, in the words of Melodious, the product “privatizes a public commodity.” Why pay for something you could get for free from the tap in your sink? (And your tap water is probably cleaner and more highly regulated to boot).
In keeping with this new campus policy, R&C will go water-bottle-less. In lieu of selling plastic water bottles, the two student-made Wishing Wells will provide water. Nina Gerona ’15, Tavo True-Alcalá ’15, Brent Packer ’15, and Mads O’Brien ’16 created the winning design and then worked closely with the Wesleyan Machine Shop to build the filtration systems.
Joss Whedon ’86 won’t be the most controversial honorary degree recipient at Commencement this May.
A recent New York Times article, Hero of the Bronx is Now Accused of Betraying It, details the rise of our very own (and this year’s lesser-publicized Honorary Degree recipient) Majora Carter ’88. Carter founded the program Sustainable South Bronx, supporting local food production and urban revitalization in the South Bronx. Now she is consulting for corporations like FreshDirect, which has recently occupied a huge lot in the South Bronx, but serves clients mostly in Manhattan and none in the neighborhood around it. That’s not to mention the $500 fee Carter reportedly charges for initial consultations. Journalist Winnie Hu gives the overview:
Ms. Carter’s meteoric rise also made her a polarizing figure. Many former allies and neighbors say that Ms. Carter trades on the credibility she built in the Bronx, while no longer representing its interests. They say she has capitalized on past good deeds in the way that politicians parlay their contacts into a lobbying career, or government regulators are hired by the companies they once covered.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “Either you’re an honest broker and accountable to the community, or you’re working for a business interest and accountable to that.”
Carter is accused of betraying her ideals and becoming a fallen hero of sorts. (When Wesleying tweeted out a link to the article, South Bronx Unite and other critical parties were quick to weigh in on the situation as it’s perceived. Carter herself briefly joined in with a YouTube dedication of her own.) Some fellow alumni are making the connection to Wes: