Multimedia: 33 powerful moments from Commencement 2016

Moments from Commencement Day 2016, from the diplomas emerging from the Registrar’s safekeeping to the serving of lobster rolls and other celebratory edibles at lunchtime.

7:53 a.m.

Held by the Registrar until Commencement morning, the day’s precious cargo of 462 diplomas is delivered by Facility Services to the Coram Library stage.


8:43 a.m.

Thirty-seven minutes before the start of the academic procession, seniors hang with friends on Alumni Walk before heading to their prescribed alphabetical stations.

web-160529_Commencement_0055

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


8:57 a.m.

Regalia in hand, President Clayton Spencer arrives at Alumni Walk.

web-160529_Commencement_0191

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:01 a.m.

Anytime on Commencement morning is the right time for a hug. Matthew Proto ’16 (left) of Chatham, N.J., and Robert DiFranco ’16 of Melrose, Mass., have been friends since their first year.

web-160529_Commencement_0231

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:08 a.m.

Regalia in place, President Spencer strikes a pose.

web-160529_Commencement_0326

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:12 a.m.

Shannon Griffin ’16 of Philadelphia, who will deliver the day’s Senior Address, meets Rep. John R. Lewis, who will deliver the Commencement Address.

In her speech, Griffin recalled a Bates history class, in which Associate Professor of History Hilmar Jensen asked his students if they would be as brave as those Northern students who joined the Freedom Riders in 1964.

“Would we be brave enough to speak up in the face of injustice? Congressman John Lewis, an American hero and civil rights leader, is here today as I continue to reflect on that question — that is the power and magnitude of a Bates education.”

web-160529_Commencement_0439

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:17 a.m.

The academic procession gets going, including these members of the platform party. Foreground, from left, are Charles Nero, professor of rhetoric; Rep. John Lewis, Commencement speaker; and Geri FitzGerald ’75, Bates trustee.

Behind them are Jack Keigwin ’59, Bates trustee emeritus; University of Alabama System Chancellor Bob Witt ’62, honorary degree recipient; and Jim Callahan ’65, Bates trustee emeritus.

web-160529_Commencement_0582

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:22 a.m.

Blake Reilly, assistant director of residential life, congratulates seniors as the academic procession moves onto the Historic Quad.

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:23 a.m.

Members of the Facility Services’ custodial staff, who get to know many seniors during their work in college residence halls and academic buildings, cheer on the grads.

web-160529_Commencement_0829

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:25 a.m.

The seniors wind their way around the Historic Quad, passing by Gomes Chapel (1913).

web-160529_Commencement_085

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


9:27 a.m.

Lecturer in Psychology Susan Langdon and Professor of French and Francophone Studies Kirk Read march in the colors of their respective doctoral institutions, Boston University and Princeton University.

web-160529_Commencement_0949

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:37 a.m.

As the academic procession assembles before them, members of the platform party regard the goings on: Associate Professor of Politics John Baughman, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Matt Auer, and Alumni Association President Michael Lieber ’92.

Each had a role: Baughman served as the host for honorary degree recipient Robert Witt ’62; Auer presented the honorary degree candidates and bachelor’s degree candidates; and Lieber welcomed the grads to ranks of alumni.

web-160529_Commencement_1116

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:44 a.m.

Family and friends do their best to spot their grads as the seniors make their way to scene of their graduation.

web-160529_Commencement_212

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


9:41 a.m.

Friends cheer on their friends as the academic procession moves toward Coram Library.

web-160529_Commencement_1232

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


9:51 a.m.

Yessenia Saucedo ’16 of Oakland, Calif., joins her classmates as they settle into their seats for the ceremony.

web-160529_Commencement_1380

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


10:08 a.m.

Bestselling novelist and neuroscientist Lisa Genova ’92 listens to the reading of the citation for her honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The conferral stated:

“Lisa Genova, your alma mater has delighted in your successes and found inspiration in your deeply personal and purposeful work. Trained to understand brain disorders as biology, you changed direction and set out to explore them from the geography of the heart. Countering fear with empathy, you bring all you are to all you do. You are a riveting storyteller, a mighty advocate, and a brilliant model for our students.”

web-160529_Commencement_1602

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


10:20 a.m.

The Bates faculty joins the entire Commencement audience in giving Rep. John R. Lewis a standing ovation as he receives the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The conferral stated:

“You have never given up and never backed away from taking bold and brave steps toward the realization of the Beloved Community. You have worked tirelessly to heal the wounds of slavery, segregation, and oppression, devoting your life to bridging the great divide in our nation and striving to make us whole.

“How do we honor such a hero? We continue your march. We carry your banner. We believe in the best of ourselves — and each other — practicing faith and patience, seeking justice and peace.”

web-160529_Commencement_1731

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


10:25 a.m.

John Lewis begins his address by recognizing the role of a founding father of the modern civil rights movement — the Rev. Benjamin E. Mays, Class of 1920 — and Bates’ role in shaping that civil rights theorist and King mentor.

“I feel more than honored, I feel more than lucky, I feel blessed to be standing here on this campus to speak to you, the graduates, where a man by the name of Benjamin Mays once stood,” Lewis said. “Many, many years ago I got to know Dr. Mays. He was part of my inspiration, he was my friend, my leader.”

Lewis cited Mays’ statement that Bates did not emancipate him, but instead enabled him to emancipate himself.

“This is the great power of education, and Dr. Benjmain Mays is a shining example,” Lewis said. “I want to thank Bates College for what you did, and continue to do, to free and liberate humankind.”

Civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis, D-Ga., delivers the Commencement address at Bates College on May 29, 2016. (PLEASE CREDIT: Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


10:58 a.m.

At stage left, seniors walk up the ramp to receive their diplomas. At stage right, they depart with sheepskin in hand.

web-160529_Commencement_2033

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


11:04 a.m.

Phillip Dube ’16 of Norton, Zimbabwe, hugs President Spencer as he receives his degree in environmental studies.

web-160529_Commencement_903

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


11:16 a.m.

President Spencer congratulates a newly minted grad. In her welcoming remarks, Spencer pointed out that the Class of 2016 began at Bates the same year she did.

“What I am most proud of, beyond these impressive facts and figures, are the human qualities you embody — your creativity, your generosity, your drive for justice, your wacky humor, and your joy in, and caring for, one another.”

web-160529_Commencement_936

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


11:26 a.m.

Christopher Pelz ’16  and Jonathan Pelz ’16 of New York City were among 13 sets of twins who were students at Bates in 2016.

Christopher majored in neuroscience; Jonathan majored in economics, Japanese, and East Asian Studies.

web-160529_Commencement_2246A

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


11:28 a.m.

Dapper and coordinated, these family members take photos of their grad.

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


11:29 a.m.

Like clockwork, the flow of grads across the stage has a few moving parts.

As his classmates await their turn to step forward, Teddy Rube ’16, a summa cum laude honors major in classical and medieval studies, accepts his diploma from President Spencer.

At left, faculty marshal John Creasey, professor emeritus of geology, checks each diploma before he hands the next one to Spencer.

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


11:35 a.m.

Some 460 graduates crossing the stage means there are almost as many emotions crossing their faces, including surprise and joy as Tucker Trimble ’16, a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa rhetoric major from Cape Neddick, Maine, receives her diploma.

web-160529_Commencement_2319

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


11:56 a.m.

As caps go skyward during the recessional, mace bearer Michael Murray and President Spencer happily follow their trajectories.

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


11:58 a.m.

The Recessional is a traditional time for the grateful grads to thank their proud professors.

web-160529_Commencement_1170

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


12:06 p.m.

Diplomas prove to be a powerful symbol of Bates achievement as grads and families come together.

web-160529_Commencement_1233

Josh Kuckens/Bates College


12:06 p.m.

William Cleaves ’16, an honors English grad from South Portland, Maine, gathers with family members, including cousin John McDevitt ’04 (right) and McDevitt’s daughter, Norah, 7 months, for post-Commencement photos on the steps of Hathorn Hall.

web-160529_Commencement_2706

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


12:12 p.m.

Kelsey Berry ’16, a rhetoric major from Hollis, N.H., and her mom, Kristen, approve of Kelsey’s diploma.

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

12:14 p.m.

Yessenia Saucedo ’16, a politics major from Oakland, Calif., holds her mortarboard after the ceremony.

Yessenia Saucedo ’16 of Los Angelos holds her mortarboard after the ceremony. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


12:20 p.m.

Jalen Baker ’16, a sociology major from Cedar Hill, Texas, and Associate Dean of Students James Reese pose for a photo after Commencement.

web-160529_Commencement_3041

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College


12:47 p.m.

The emotional intensity of Commencement now fading away, families, friends, and their graduates adjourn to the Library Quad for the Commencement Lunch.

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

View Comments