udall-portraitAccording to this anonymous comment, Colorado Senator Mark Udall ’72 will be the Convocation Speaker next month and, presumably, a Bicentennial Medal awardee. Can anyone confirm? Can ’10 provide more details? There is nothing at the Williams website. Most EphBlog anonymous tips like this end up being true, so, if you are a Udall fan, make your reservations now.

UPDATE: Confirmed, as expected. See below for the e-mail that went out to all seniors more than two weeks ago. We need a senior to join us an an author at EphBlog, or just to pass along this sort of news. I will save my deconstruction of the descriptions of some of the Bicentennial Medal winners for another post.

From: Jeff Strait, College Marshal
Date: Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 16:54
Subject: Convocation on Saturday, September 12
To: STUDENTS-SENIOR@williams.edu

Dear senior,

I am writing to invite you to participate in Convocation 2009, the ceremonial opening of the school year. This event marks the beginning of your senior year and introduces five exceptionally interesting Williams graduates who will receive Bicentennial Medals from the College. Seniors march in academic dress, so please see the end of this message for information on when and where to pick up your cap and gown.

Convocation will be held in Chapin Hall at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 12. The class will line up in caps and gowns at the west end of Morgan Hall at 10:15 a.m. The procession steps off at exactly 10:35. In case of rain, assemble at 10:30 a.m. in the basement of Chapin Hall.

Convocation celebrates the Senior Class and its many accomplishments. Interim President Bill Wagner and the College Council Co-Presidents Lizzy Brickley and Mike Tcheyan welcome the seniors. Dean Karen Merrill will present the Grosvenor Cup Award and introduce the seniors elected to Phi Beta Kappa at the end of their junior year.

At Convocation the College also will award Bicentennial Medals to five distinguished alumni. These medals recognize alumni for “significant achievement in any field of endeavor.” I hope that you will find the recipients’ career paths and their accomplishments inspiring as you begin to think of life after college. Senator Mark Udall ’72, one of the medalists, will give the Convocation Address. The Bicentennial Medalists are:

* The Honorable Karen Ashby ’79: The first African American woman appointed to the bench in the state of Colorado, she is a nationally recognized expert in matters pertaining to juvenile and family law.

* Mika Brzezinski ’89: A television news journalist with star power, she is a familiar anchor on a host of NBC shows including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, and Weekend Today.

* Gary Fisketjon ’76: Vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, he has been honored for “discovering, nurturing and championing writers of fiction” and is considered an editorial master by established writers worldwide.

* John F. Raynolds ’51: This innovator devised strategies that led to development of the U.S. Navy Seals and steered Outward Bound, USA, through its largest growth in history, all the while inspiring others through his speaking and writing.

* Senator Mark E. Udall ’72: An accomplished mountain climber, the Senator from Colorado is nationally recognized for his steadfast commitment to addressing challenging environmental issues, including his early support for alternative energy.

After Convocation, you are invited to an all-campus picnic on the lawn of Paresky Center. The rain site for the picnic is Herbert Towne Field House on Latham Street.

Convocation is open to the public. Please invite your family and friends. Tickets are not required. We look forward to seeing you at Convocation.


On Friday, September 11, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Auditorium, the Bicentennial Medalists will participate in a panel discussion where they will share their life stories. All students, especially seniors, are invited to this event.


The College supplies, free of charge, caps and gowns for all seniors. To pick up your cap and gown, please come to

Paresky Center, Room 207
Friday, September 11, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 12, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

You will need to be measured and also have both items labeled, which will take 3-4 minutes. It is important to have them properly marked as you will use the same cap and gown for Commencement. Academic tradition prescribes dark clothing for wear under the gowns. The tassel should be worn on the right-hand side.

After the ceremony, the Class Marshals will lead the Class into Paresky where you will return your cap and gown and we will store them safely for you until Commencement.

Jefferson Strait
Professor of Physics and College Marshal
Williams College
Department of Physics
Williamstown, Massachusetts 01267, USA

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