In an email this morning, President Roth ’76 announced this year’s Commencement Speaker will be Saidiya Hartman ’84 (above). Reverend Edwin C. Sanders II ’69 (left) and Former Wesleyan Professor Hazel V. Carby (right) will also receive honorary degrees at the University’s 187th Commencement.
This seems to be the first time in a while that Roth has actually read the room when selecting honorees for Commencement. It’s certainly gratifying to see a Black woman being honored for her achievements on the 50th anniversary of the Vanguard Class of ’96 and the founding of the African American studies program (which has finally been received department status this year).
Certainly, this year’s honorees are a welcome variation from last year’s Commencement Speaker controversy. As many of you recall, Daniel Handler ’92, who has a history of racist and sexist harassment, was chosen as the 2018 Commencement Speaker, while Dr. Anita Hill, known for advocating against those very abuses, was relegated to a lesser position of honorary degree recipient. Handler later withdrew as Commencement Speaker following a flurry of student and alumni demands to #CancelHandler18. Notably, President Roth and the administration did nothing in response to concerns and complaints from survivors, students and alumni of color, and other members of the Wesleyan community. Dr. Hill graciously agreed to give the Commencement address in Handler’s stead.
Hopefully this year’s Honorary Degree recipients can become emblematic of the excellence that Wesleyan chooses to honor at future Commencement Ceremonies, rather than continuing a pattern of choosing powerful (and often problematic) white men who don’t represent the community or values that Wesleyan claims to strive toward.
If you have thoughts or feelings about this year’s selection of honorees, we welcome write-ins and guest posts! Just shoot us an email at staff[at]wesleying[dot]edu.
The full text of Roth’s email can be read below:
Come to Wesleyan’s Baccalaureate Ceremony with Seniors, family, and friends and listen as your peers share some of their unique and transformative moments from their years at Wesleyan. The keynote will be given by Assistant Professor Anthony Hatch, of Science in Society, African American Studies, Sociology, with Senior reflections by Lili Kadets, Haenah Kwon, Arnelle Williams, and Mika Reyes.
Date: Saturday, May 27
Time: 6 PM
Place: Memorial Chapel
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:
Photo Credit: Eury German ’16
FULL CROWDSOURCED BUCKET LIST AFTER THE JUMP!
For those who are simply too lazy to click: nothing. you get nothing.
If you’ve never stayed for Reunion & Commencement weekend, the idea of a party in a tent might have raised an eyebrow; but those who are familiar with the event surely know better. The annual tent party was located in a ginormous tent on Andrus, which, to my terribly inaccurate estimation, felt even larger than a football field. The music was performed by a band featuring several Wes alums, Kinky Spigot and the Welders, known as “an unstoppable cosmic force of booty-crunching goodness” who certainly didn’t disappoint.
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
Move over, “Michael S. Roth ’78”—the Huffington Post has a new Wesleyan representative in town, and it’s Max Nussenbaum ’12. Sometimes known for his “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” cameo (phenomenal audition video included) and his desperate attempts to get Sylvie Stein ’12 to go to prom with him, Nussenbaum has spent the last eight months or so in Detroit, working for Are You a Human as part of Venture for America’s inaugural class. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to tell your Wesleyan friends and Wesleyan friends’ parents that you’re moving to Detroit after graduation, Nussenbaum’s compelling recent Huff Post piece, “Move Where You Can Matter,” is worth a look—as it is for anyone who’s ever felt the urge to resist the gravitational pull of the Wesleyan-Brooklyn Alumni Industrial Complex:
I talk to a guy who’s spending his next year volunteering in a Nigerian slum, and he asks me why I’d ever move somewhere as downtrodden as Detroit. Everyone makes the same dismayed face, asks the same incredulous question: “Why would you go… there?”
And “there” wasn’t just Detroit. At Wesleyan, my alma matter — like at most elite schools — “there” was anywhere that wasn’t a select handful of high-profile cities: the Bostons and New Yorks, the D.C.’s and L.A.’s. We were a cohort raised with tunnel vision, a graduating class who couldn’t find Ohio on a map and who thought “Oklahoma City” was an oxymoron. Don’t get me wrong, I was more than guilty of this myself: I heard Venture for America talk about underserved parts of the country and my first thought was Queens — you know, since everyone was moving to Brooklyn.
Just arrived at your final year of school, know what trichotillomania is but not where you’re working after graduation? This is important if you want the Career Center to help:
Seniors, feeling a little L.O.S.T.? Senior Meeting is your Learning Opportunity for Surviving the Transition. Meet the staff, make a
connection, ask a question!
TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO ATTEND:
- Tuesday, September 4th at 7 pm in Tishler
- Friday, September 7th at 12:15 pm in Crowell Concert Hall
Join the Career Center staff for a quick guide to Senior Year Career Center style. We will have information on how you can get the most out of the Career Center whether you are searching for a job, applying to graduate and professional school, and/or planning something else such as volunteering, or seeing the world! Exciting events and important dates from the CC calendar will be highlighted.
Bennet ’87 to 2012: “Your generation has so many more opportunities to lead, to make change, than the Class of 1987 ever did.” Also, tear down those walls. Like Reagan. Sort of.
Congratulations, Wesleyan Class of 2012! Now go tear down some walls. Or something.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, a whopping 713 members of the senior class graduated on Andrus Field this morning after remarks by President Michael Roth ’78 (featuring references to WesRave, the ACB, and, err, “hipster pessimism”), a senior class welcome from Kennedy Odede ’12, and a stirring, historically heavy Commencement Address from Senator (and presidential heir) Michael Bennet ’87, who instructed one and all to “bring down those walls” and embrace “some period of public service” as the debt for the privilege of attending Wesleyan. “You will transform American politics for this new age,” said Bennet, “because otherwise it will become as irrelevant as the British parliament in 1776.” Meanwhile, about halfway through Roth’s speech, a few unidentified students dropped a banner from nearby Clark denouncing ongoing changes to Wesleyan’s need-blind admissions practices. From my vantage point, the silent protest offered a large-scale complement to the “Keep Wes Need Blind” stickers I saw affixed to the shirts of student workers, graduates, alums, and even a few parents all day (more on this later). But what say you?
Seniors, you’ll be missed. But for now, go hug your grandparents. I’ve been driving them around all day on golf carts, and they’re totally psyched. (You can wait until tomorrow, I guess.)
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is in. Michael Bennet ’87 will be this year’s commencement speaker (save the date: May 27). The announcement isn’t such a huge surprise since Wesleyan seems to like bringing politicians and alumni to commencement, and
Hickenlooper Bennet satisfies both criteria. Artist Glenn Ligon ’82 and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards P’13 will also be receiving honorary degrees.
Bennet graduated with a bachelors in history from Wesleyan, but that’s not his only connection: his father, Douglas Bennet, was President of the university from 1995 to 2007 (Roth’s immediate predecessor). His official biography can be found after the jump, and stresses his interest in education and America’s youth as a whole. In relation to past commencement speakers, Wikipedia notes that Bennet advised 2008 speaker Barack Obama on education and was even speculated for the Secretary of Education spot. Bennet also formerly served as 2010 speaker John Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff.
Tickets will go on sale at 10AM at the Box Office on Thursday, so get your sleeping bags and port-a-potties ready. You might also care to know that Bennet is a co-sponsor of PIPA, so you can always argue with him if you didn’t get a Scalia ticket.
Props to anyone who replied to the email asking who we’re getting for Spring Fling, but direct that towards the Spring Fling Committee. Here’s the full email itself: