2017 Commencement Weekend Schedule

Questions? Call Patricia Allen, Commencement director, at 413/542-8094.

Friday, May 19, 2017

1 to 9 p.m.
Check-in for seniors and families. Alumni House (see parking map).
5 p.m.
Commencement Rehearsal. Mandatory for seniors; families need not attend. Main Quadrangle (Johnson Chapel in case of rain).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Check-in for seniors and families. Alumni House (see parking map).
9 a.m.
Phi Beta Kappa Meeting. Students elected to membership in this honor society are those of the highest standing. Remarks by a speaker to be determined. Stirn Auditorium.
10 a.m.
Baccalaureate Celebration. Seniors play a significant role in this multifaith gathering that includes music, readings, dance and an address by Hussein Rashid, a community preacher and faculty member in the Barnard College Department of Religion. Johnson Chapel.
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests

Yanira Castro “The People to Come”
Talk by Yanira Castro Negroni ’93, an innovative interdisciplinary artist who has been making work in New York for 20 years.
Stirn Auditorium
Peter Rubinstein “When Prophecy Fails: Implications for the Future”
Talk by Peter J. Rubinstein ’64, director of Jewish community and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92Y in New York.
Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall
12:30 to 2 p.m.
Luncheon for seniors, families, faculty and staff. Valentine Quadrangle (Valentine Hall in case of rain).
1 p.m.
Sigma Xi Meeting. Induction ceremony for new members of The Scientific Research Society. Remarks by Mark D. Marshall, the Class of 1959 Professor of Chemistry. Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall.
2 to 3 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests

Esther Duflo “Science and the Fight Against Poverty”
Talk by Esther Duflo, professor of poverty alleviation and development economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall
Steven Chu CANCELED: “Recent Climate Change Findings and a Low-Cost Path to Clean Energy” 
Steven Chu regrets that he is unable to attend Amherst College’s 196th Commencement to accept an Honorary Degree due to a bike accident that resulted in a broken and displaced clavicle and on the advice of his doctors to not fly at this time.

3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests

William Cronon “Reading the Landscapes of America”
Talk by William Cronon, an American environmental historian and a historian of the American West with a focus on landscapes and human interactions with the natural world.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall
Barrett Rollins “Brave-ish New World: A Practical Roadmap for Bringing the Benefits of  21st-Century Cancer Science to Everyone”
Talk by Barrett J. Rollins ’74, chief scientific officer and faculty dean for academic affairs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Stirn Auditorium

4:30 to 6 p.m.
President Biddy Martin President’s Reception. President Biddy Martin hosts a gathering for seniors, families and members of the faculty and staff. Garden of the President’s House.


9:15 p.m.
Choral Society Concert. Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reception Center Open. Alumni House (see parking map).
10 a.m.
The 196th Commencement. Addresses by President Biddy Martin and Amir Denzel Hall ’17. Marshal: Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Mathematics Gregory Call. Honorary Marshal: Wei Sun Christianson ’85. Medal for Eminent Service: Katherine Chia ’88. Student Marshals: Rashid L. Kosber ’17, Pierre-Alexander D. Low ’17 and Jessica Maposa ’17. Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards: Daniel Adler, an economics, geometry and government teacher from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, Calif., nominated by Jamie Gracie ’17; R. Nicole Gharda, an English teacher from Ernest S. McBride Sr. High School in Long Beach, Calif., nominated by Irma Zamora ’17; and Elisa Murphy ’94, a biology teacher from The Spence School in New York, N.Y., nominated by Noël Grisanti ’17, Caitlin Merrell ’18E and Olivia Pinney ’17. The Conway Canes for each graduating senior are a gift from the Fund for Conway Canes, endowed by Brian J. Conway ’80 and Kevin J. Conway ’80. The canes are being distributed by Elizabeth Julier Wyeth ’80, P’17. Main Quadrangle.
12:30 to 2 p.m.
Luncheon for seniors, families, faculty and staff. Valentine Quadrangle (Valentine Hall in case of rain).

Note: When Commencement is outdoors, seating is unlimited, and no tickets are required. If severe weather forces Commencement indoors, the event will be held in LeFrak Gymnasium, where seating is limited to ticket holders. Each graduating senior may pick up three tickets for family or other guests on Friday or Saturday at Commencement Headquarters in Alumni House. Guests without tickets may watch a video simulcast of the event in Coolidge Cage, next to LeFrak. To learn the location of Sunday’s Commencement ceremony, call 413/542-INFO (4636) or go to amherst.edu/commencement after 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Some audience members may have particular health or safety concerns that necessitate their sitting indoors rather than outdoors to watch the Commencement ceremony. For such cases, there is limited seating available in Stirn Auditorium, where live video of the ceremony will be projected onto a large screen. (Seating will be available in Stirn only if the ceremony is taking place outdoors. If the ceremony has been moved to LeFrak Gymnasium because of inclement weather, all audience members will watch from within the gymnasium or Coolidge Cage.)