Commencement and Baccalaureate Speakers
Ella Tambussi Grasso, Mount Holyoke Class of 1940 gave the 1975 Commencement address at the College. She was a leading woman politician in the United States from the 1952-1980 and the first woman governor (of her native Connecticut) elected in her own right.
Mount Holyoke’s first senior class graduated on August 23, 1838. That occasion and subsequent graduation celebrations have includes a formal program in which a distinguished guest has given gave an inspirational address to students, teachers, and visitors. In many instances, the main Commencement speaker has also been granted an honorary degree by the College. The practice of a senior (chosen by her classmates) also addressing the gathering began in 1994. Since 1885, the Commencement ceremony has been preceded by a Baccalaureate Service at which faculty members, administrators, and guests address the seniors and their guests.
The following lists identify individuals known to have given Baccalaureate or Commencement addresses at Mount Holyoke. Each name in bold indicates that a copy of the address by that person is on file in Archives and Special Collections. Those speeches are described in the Five College Online Library Catalogue. Information about searching that catalogue is available online. Use the word Commencement for a title search.