2016 Commencement Schedule of Events

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

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 21, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 7:30 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 Rebecca Sinos, the Edwin F. and Jessie Burnell Fobes Professor in Greek. Stirn Auditorium.
10 a.m.
Baccalaureate Celebration. This multifaith gathering includes music, readings, dance and an address by the Reverend Timothy Jones '05E, senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. Johnson Chapel.
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests. 
William Burns “America’s Role on a Changing International Landscape.” Talk by Ambassador William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former U.S. deputy secretary of state. Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall.

Sandra Faber “At Home in the Universe.” Talk by Dr. Sandra Faber, an observational astronomer whose research has contributed greatly to modern understandings of cosmology and galaxy formation. Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall.

1 p.m.
Sigma Xi Meeting. Induction ceremony for new members. Remarks by Mark D. Marshall, the Class of 1959 Professor of Chemistry. Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons.
2 to 3 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests.
Chris Bohjalian “The Genocide and the Love Story: Fiction as Activism.” Talk by Chris Bohjalian ’82, author of 18 books that have been translated into more than 30 languages and regularly appear on The New York Times best-seller list. Stirn Auditorium.

Inger Damon “Research and Response: Protecting the Public’s Health.” Talk by Dr. Inger Damon ’84, director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2014 CDC incident manager for the Ebola response in West Africa. Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall

3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests.
Kirk Johnson “The Future of Natural History Museums.” Talk by Dr. Kirk Johnson ’82, scientist, author and museum curator and the Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall.
Sara Lawrence Lightfoot “Goodness in Education: On View, Voice and Visibility.” Talk by Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, sociologist, educator and author studying the culture of schools, the ecology of education, and the relationship between human development and social change. Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall.

4:30 to 6 p.m.
President’s Reception.
President Biddy Martin 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 22, 2016

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reception Center Open. Alumni House (see parking map).
10 a.m.
The 195th Commencement. Addresses by President Biddy Martin and Darienne Masishi Madlala '16. Marshal: Professor Wako Tawa. Honorary Marshal: Brooke Kamin Rapaport '84. Medal for Eminent Service: Kelly L. Close '90. Student Marshals: Hao Liu '16, Mercedes MacAlpine '16 and Tierney Werner '16. Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards: Dawn Gafa, a physics and mathematics teacher from Hazel Park, Michigan; Robert Gerver, a mathematics and statistics teacher from Glen Head, New York; and William Kahn, a history teacher from Brooklyn, New York. 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. Main Quadrangle.

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.)