2015 Commencement Schedule of Events

The 2016 Commencement schedule will be similar. details will be posted in April, 2016.
Questions? Call Patricia Allen, commencement director, at 413/542-8094.

Friday, May 22, 2015

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 23, 2015

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 Josef G. Trapani, assistant professor of biology. Stirn Auditorium.
10 a.m.
Baccalaureate Service. This multifaith celebration includes music, readings, dance and an address by Rev. Ian Oliver '81, pastor of the University Church and senior associate chaplin, Yale University. Johnson Chapel.
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests.

Sonya Clark '89 “Hair to There and Back Again”
Talk by Sonya Clark ’89, a contemporary artist renowned for her original use of common materials to address race, class and history and chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall.
Dr. Pardis Sabeti “Cooperation and Collaboration in Response to Outbreaks”
Talk by Pardis Sabeti, a computational geneticist and associate professor at Harvard's FAS Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall.
12:30 to 2 p.m.
Luncheon for seniors, families and faculty. Valentine Quadrangle (Valentine Hall in case of rain).
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.

Eric Carle

“How to Make The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Talk by Eric Carle, award-winning author and illustrator of children’s picture books.
Stirn Auditorium.
Paul Smith

"Witness to a Legal Revolution"
Paul M. Smith ’76 talks about the experience of arguing a landmark Supreme Court gay rights case in 2003 and how the law moved swiftly since then to extend constitutional equality to LGBT Americans.
Cole Assembly, Converse Hall.
3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
Conversations with Honored Guests.

Jim Ansara ’82 “From Post-Earthquake Haiti to Post-Ebola West Africa: Lessons from Paul Farmer and Partners in Health”
Talk by Jim Ansara ’82, founder and chairman of Shawmut Design and Construction, founder of The Ansara Family Fund and founder of Build Health International.
Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall. 
Alice Rivlin
“Civil Discourse: Is It Possible?”
Talk by Alice Rivlin, the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office and director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution.
Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall.
4:30 to 6 p.m.
President’s Reception.

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 24, 2015

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reception Center Open. Alumni House (see parking map).
10 a.m.
The 194th Commencement. Addresses by President Biddy Martin and Katherine Ponds '15. Marshal: Professor Wako Tawa. Honorary Marshal: Sean M. Clancy '78, P '15. Medal for Eminent Service: Leo Arnaboldi '81, P'14, P'17. Student Marshals: KC Fussell '15 and Rama Hagos '15. Phebe and Zephaniah Swift Moore Teaching Awards: Bob Jonas, a mathematics teacher from Carnegie Vanguard School in Houston, Texas, nominated by Kellyn Lacour-Conant ’15; Linda Maier, a biology teacher from the Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y. nominated by Laura Gerrard; and, Steve Schmidt, a history teacher from Lowell High School in San  Francisco, Calif. nominated by Christina Won ’15. The canes for each graduating senior are a gift from the Fund for College 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 www.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.)
A buffet luncheon will be served after the Commencement Exercises.
Valentine Quadrangle (Valentine Hall in case of rain).