2019 Commencement Weekend Schedule

Questions? Call Austin Huot, director of Conferences and Special Events, at (413) 542-7666.


Friday, May 24, 2019

1 to 9 p.m.
Welcome Center and Housing 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 25, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Welcome Center and Housing Check-in for seniors and families. Alumni House (see parking map).
9 a.m.
Phi Beta Kappa Meeting. Induction ceremony for new members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest honor society of arts and sciences. Students elected to membership in this honor society are those of the highest standing. Remarks by Caroline Goutte, professor and chair of Biology. Stirn Auditorium.
10 a.m.
Baccalaureate Celebration. Seniors play a significant role in this interfaith gathering that includes music, readings, dance and an address titled "Shaping Your Sole Network" by Asha Shipman, director of Hindu life at Yale University. Johnson Chapel.
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests

A portrait of Nergis Mavalvala “The 100-Year Quest for Einstein's Elusive Gravitational Waves.” Talk by Nergis Mavalvala, a physicist whose research focuses on the detection of gravitational waves and quantum measurement science; and the Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.
Lipton Lecture Hall, Science Center

A portrait of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba “A New Dawn: Reflections on South Africa's Democracy.” Talk by Thabo Makgoba, archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa; metropolitan of the Anglican Church of the ecclesiastical province of Southern Africa; and chancellor of the University of the Western Cape.
Stirn Auditorium

A portrait of Charles Mann 300,000 Dead Refrigerators: Peril and Promise in the World of 2050.” Talk by Charles  C. Mann ’76, a journalist and author whose most recent book is The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World. His previous books include 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, a New York Times best-seller, and 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, winner of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Keck award for the best book of the year. Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

12:30 to 2 p.m.
Luncheon for seniors, families, faculty and staff. In the event of inclement weather, lunch will be served under the large tent on Valentine Quad. Additional seating will be available in Valentine Dining Hall. 
Valentine Quadrangle
1 p.m.
Sigma Xi Meeting. Induction ceremony for new members of The Scientific Research Society.  Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, Valentine Hall.
2 to 3 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests

A portrait of Cullen Murphy “Cleaning the Sistine Chapel: A Journalist's Notes (photographs by Robert Polidori).” Talk by Cullen Murphy ’74, editor at large of The Atlantic magazine; and chair of Amherst College’s Board of Trustees from 2012 until 2018. His most recent book, Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe, was published in 2017.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

A portrait of Charles Mann “How We Hear, How We Lose Hearing, and What Can Be Done About It. Talk by David P. Corey ’74, the Bertarelli Professor of Translational Medical Science in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, whose laboratory is developing new gene therapy methods to treat hearing loss.
Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall, Science Center

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

A portrait of Annie Leibovitz “Life Through a Lens.  Talk by Annie Leibovitz, whose large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, her work with actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as her fashion photographs, established her as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape.
Kirby Theater

A portrait of Darren Walker “From Generosity to Justice: A Better Vision for 21st-Century Philanthropy." A conversation with Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and Amrita Basu, Domenic J. Paino 1955 Professor of Political Science, and Professor and Chair of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies. The Ford Foundation is an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grantmaking. For two decades, he has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

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. The Choral Society includes the Chorus, the Glee Club and the Concert Choir, directed by Arianne Abela and Ellen Mutter ’18. The performance will feature music from the Americas and the Baltics, as well as traditional Amherst songs. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for senior citizens and children 12 and under, and free for Amherst and Five College students with ID. Tickets are available in the Alumni House during Welcome Center hours and in the lobby of  the Arms Music Center startng at 8:15 p.m. on the evening of the performance.
Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Welcome Center Open. Alumni House (see parking map).
10 a.m.
The 198th Commencement. Addresses by President Biddy Martin and Helena Burgueño ’19. Marshal: Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Mathematics Gregory Call. Honorary Marshal: Andrew Kendall ’83 P’19 P’22. Medal for Eminent Service: Paula Rauch ’77, P’00 ’08. Student Marshals: Louis Briones ’19, Joanna Booth ’19 and Joseph Schneider ’19.

Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards: Heather Anderson, a mathematics teacher at Pathfinder Regional High School in Palmer, MA; Aaron Barkon, an instrumental music teacher at Hamden High School in Hamden, CT; and John Hoerster, an English teacher at Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL.

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 Kitty Shirley ’80, P’19.
Main Quadrangle. 
12:30 to 2 p.m.
Luncheon for seniors, families, faculty and staff. In the event of inclement weather, lunch will be served under the large tent on Valentine Quad. Additional seating will be available in Valentine Dining Hall. Valentine Quadrangle.

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.)