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Whitman College Prepares for 2023 Commencement Weekend

Celebrating nearly 350 graduates in Whitman’s 137th Commencement Ceremony

By Margie Reece ’93

Memorial Building with Whitman sign.

Whitman College graduates will soon cross the stage in front of Memorial Building and mark a significant milestone in their lives—as have so many Whitties before them. 

Here’s a preview of how the college and Whitman community will commemorate this joyous occasion—Whitman College’s 137th Commencement—and celebrate the exceptional accomplishments and bright futures of its Class of 2023.

This year’s graduating class numbers nearly 350. On Sunday, May 21, the scholars majoring in disciplines from across academic divisions will receive their diplomas from President Sarah R. Bolton, during her first Whitman Commencement. 

Baccalaureate for All 

While a long tradition at Whitman, the Baccalaureate ceremony this year will broaden its reach in a new location: Chism Recital Hall in the Hall of Music at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2023.  

Hosted by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Baccalaureate is an hour-long celebration featuring music performances by graduating music majors and brief readings, prayers and reflections from a wide range of religious traditions including humanist/non-religious perspectives, says Adam Kirtley, Whitman’s Interfaith Chaplain. 

“It is an opportunity to gather in community around whatever each of us finds meaningful or sacred,” says Kirtley. “For those of all faith traditions, for those of no faith tradition and for everyone in between.”

At the Podium: Amber Ebarb ’03

On Sunday, May 25, 2003, Amber Ebarb graduated from Whitman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. 

On a Sunday twenty years later, she returns to campus and the Memorial Building stage to deliver the 2023 Commencement address and as the Minority Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. 

In the 117th Congress, Ebarb served as Deputy Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where she assisted the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), in pursuing her priorities, which included policies to prevent domestic and sexual violence in Native communities, to improve tribal public safety and to provide for basic infrastructure.

“It is an incredible honor, and a humbling one, to return to Whitman, especially at a time when it has embarked on a journey to understand its place in American history and work toward becoming engaged neighbors with the Indigenous peoples of this special and unique place,” says Ebarb.

A Duo of Student Speakers

Being a Whitman student is often about friendly collaboration. In that spirit, representing the Class of 2023 at the podium will be a pair of Whitties: Aidan Shea Macpherson ’23 and Elena Christine McHargue ’23. 


Macpherson, from Chicago, Illinois, is graduating with a degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Next year, he will be pursuing a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

McHargue, from Boise, Idaho, is graduating with a combined degree in Economics-Mathematics with a minor in Psychology. While at Whitman, McHargue was a captain of the women’s basketball team. She will be in Colorado this summer working in sports event management before moving to Madrid, Spain, in the fall to teach English.

A Banner Year

The Class of 2023 banner was designed by Will Weisz ’23. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Weisz will graduate on Sunday with a double major in Art and Economics. 


During his time at Whitman, Weisz also served as the President and Co-founder of the Whitman Skate Club and Chief Information Officer of the Whitman Investment Company. Weisz was the recipient of two Whitman Internship Grants that allowed him to pursue his interests in marketing and media. After graduation, Weisz will be joining the marketing team at Bluewood, a ski resort in Dayton, Washington.

View Commencement Live 

The livestream of the 2023 Commencement ceremony will begin with the processional at 10:50 a.m. on Sunday, May 21.

Published on May 17, 2023
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