Overview – Whitman College Commencement and Baccalaureate
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Speaker: Juan Williams, writer, journalist, media commentator. The title of his address is “Surprise your parents, surprise your friends, but most of all surprise yourself.”
Honorary Degrees: Juan Williams and James K. Hayner, trustee emeritus, each will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree.
Special Award: Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger ’97 – NASA astronaut and member of Shuttle Mission STS-131, April 2010 – will receive the Civis Magnopere Laudanda award. Translated it means “Citizen Worthy of Highest Praise.”
Graduates: *To date, 371 students will participate in the ceremony; 353 degrees will be conferred. (*As of 4 p.m., May 20)
Student Speaker: Seth Bergeson, from Seattle, will address "Pink Shorts and Idealism.” He is a 2010 recipient of a Watson Fellowship and after graduation will begin his research on children’s issues.
Class Banner: A long-standing Whitman tradition, a member of the graduating class is selected to design a banner that will be carried in the ceremony. The 2010 designer is Schuyler “Sky” MacFadyen, from Anchorage, Alaska.
WOW!: Whitman is known for academic rigor. It also attracts students who collectively and individually possess and pursue a diverse range of interests. They are over-achievers in many ways. For example:
Clare Tochilin, Atlanta – A geology/environmental studies major, she has climbed to higher than 16,000 feet on two continents and plays in the Walla Walla Symphony. For her senior thesis, she studies an Aleutian volcano. She is planning to attend graduate school.
Courtney Porter, Seattle – An All Conference soccer goalie, she is a chemistry and geology double major who explored caverns in Virginia and mountains in Wyoming for her thesis on carbon sequestration going. She will study hydrology in graduate school.
Jazmin L. Lopez, Walla Walla – A Spanish major and first-generation college student, she has been working for the past 2 1/2 years on a documentary on Mixtec women from her parents’ native village in Oaxaca, Mexico. The documentary is described as having aesthetic mastery, intellectual engagement, and cultural relevancy.
Marshall Baker, Portland, Ore. – A music major specializing in theory and composition, he is also a talented composer and an excellent bluegrass fiddler. The Whitman Jazz Ensemble performed two of his pieces at its spring concert.
Nate Cohn, Auburn, Wash. – This politics major is in line for honors and is one the nation’s best debaters (5th speaker at the National Debate Championship and received an exclusive internship at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He’s also a recipient of a Scoville Peace Fellowship.
50 Years Ago: Members of The Class of 1960 will reunite on campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Whitman.
BACCALAUREATE – Saturday, May 22, 3:30 p.m. Cordiner Hall
What: Baccalaureate at Whitman is an important and enduring tradition that provides a time for thoughtful reflection and celebration. Some describe it as more spiritual than religious. Graduates and their families are joined by members of the Whitman Community. It is not open to the public. Media may attend. (E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 520-1446.)
Speakers: Space Shuttle Discovery Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger ’97 will address “Growing up in a wheat field,” sharing how her individual life was influenced by a small town in Washington State, and where the core values she learned from her parents and from Whitman have taken her since graduation.
Lisa Curtis ’10 and Camila Thorndike ’10 will address “Why we’re not going to save the world.” Curtis served as the campus sustainability coordinator and led a group of students to Copenhagen to the Climate Change Conference. Thorndike created a local organization that links students at the three colleges in an effort to enrich the wider community.
Adam Kirtley, Whitman’s coordinator of religious and spiritual life, will address “Sojourners.”