Dear member of the class of 2017,

I invite you to participate in Fall Convocation, the ceremonial opening of the academic year.  Seniors and faculty 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.

Details about Convocation may be found here.

Convocation will be held on the morning of Saturday, September 17, in Chapin Hall.  The senior class lines up in caps and gowns on the lawn of Morgan Hall at 10:15 a.m. under the direction of class marshals Velia Moran Olivas and Scott Shelton.  The procession steps off at exactly 10:40.  The ceremony starts at 11:00 and lasts about an hour.  There is a rain plan, but I’ll only alert you to the details if there is a chance of rain.

Convocation celebrates the senior class and its many accomplishments.  President Adam Falk and College Council Co-Presidents Michelle Bal and Caitlin Buckley welcome the seniors.  Sammi Stone and Gabe Morosky perform a musical number.  Vice President Steve Klass presents the Grosvenor Cup Award and Dean Marlene Sandstrom introduces the seniors elected to Phi Beta Kappa at the end of their junior year.

Bicentennial Medals are awarded to five distinguished alumni. Medalist Maxine Burkett gives the Convocation Address “Climate, Complexity, and Other Devils: James Garfield and the Seventh Generation.”

The 2016 Bicentennial Medalists are:

  • Eliot Coleman ’61   American farmer, author, agricultural researcher and educator, and proponent of organic farming.
  • Bruce Beehler ’74   Ornithologist and research associate of the Bird Division of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
  • Jeff Speck ’85         City planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design.
  • Sharon Burke ’88    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Maxine Burkett ’98  Associate Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, focusing on climate change and social justice.


The College supplies, free of charge, caps and gowns for all seniors. To pick up your cap and gown, please come to Paresky Center during one of the following times.

Thursday, September 15,  1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Friday, September 16,  1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 17,  8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

You will need to be measured, which will take 3-4 minutes. Upon return it is important to have caps and gowns properly marked because you will use the same ones for Commencement. Academic tradition prescribes dark clothing for wear under the gowns.  The tassel should be worn on the right-hand side.

If you are not participating in Convocation, then you will be able to be measured for a cap and gown in June 2017, just prior to Commencement.

At the end of the Convocation ceremony, the class marshals will lead you in a recessional out of Chapin Hall.  They will then lead you in an orderly fashion all the way to Paresky where you will return your cap and gown. We will store caps and gowns safely for you until Commencement, June 2017.

After Convocation, you are invited to an all-campus picnic on Chapin Lawn in front of Paresky Center.



Jay Thoman
College Marshal



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