Honoring the Class of 2004
The College’s 138th Commencement saw the most notable change in tradition since 1971, the year President Hedley Reynolds, urged by the senior class, moved the exercises from the Lewiston Armory to the steps of Coram Library.
This year’s Memorial Day event, rather than offering one lengthy keynote speech, featured brief remarks by all four honorary degree recipients: Rita R. Colwell, former National Science Foundation head; David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer prize-winning historian of race and class in America; Milton L. Lindholm ’35, beloved dean emeritus of admissions; and John C. Whitehead, philanthropist and chair of the agency directing Lower Manhattan’s post-9/11 rebuilding.
The energetic gathering of some 2,500 family, friends and members of the Bates community heard President Elaine Tuttle Hansen cite “Middlemarch” author George Eliot in her introduction, in which she expressed a reluctance to lose touch with the departing class. “Who can quit young lives after being long in company with them,” Hansen quoted Eliot, “and not desire to know what befell them in after years?”
The Class of 2004 comprises 450 members, including 48 from Maine.