MHC to Celebrate 177th Commencement

President Lynn Pasquerella hugs a new graduate at 2013 commencement ceremonies.

Mount Holyoke will present some 580 bachelor’s degrees and award four honorary doctorates when the College hosts its 177th commencement starting at 10:30 am on Sunday, May 18, in the Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater. (Rain location: Kendall Field House.) 

Deborah Bial, president and founder of the Posse Foundation, will give the 2014 commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters. Honorary degrees will also be presented to Deborah Harkness ’86, Karen G. Jennings Lewis ’74, and Dr. Patricia A. Robertson ’72.

Live video streaming of the event will begin shortly before the commencement procession begins.

Twitter fans can follow the event through live tweets via @mtholyoke or through the hashtag #2014mhc.

The College will confer 580 bachelor of arts degrees during Sunday’s ceremony, including 36 that will go to Frances Perkins Scholars. Additionally, 12 students will receive a master of arts in teaching (M.A.T.) degree; eight will receive certificates for postbaccalaureate study; and another 16 will receive international student certificates.

Iman Abdulwassi Abubaker, who completed her studies in December 2013, has been chosen to give the student address. The environmental studies major will speak about “moments of impact,” encouraging her sister graduates to celebrate and be fearless about what lies ahead of them.

Commencement weekend at Mount Holyoke includes some of the College’s most cherished and time-honored traditions. On Saturday, May 17, the Laurel Parade will begin at Mary Woolley Circle at 9 am, when members of the class of 2014—dressed in white to honor the suffragettes and carrying a chain of laurel leaves—will be led by returning alumnae in a procession to the grave of the College's founder, Mary Lyon. There they will be joined by MHC president Lynn Pasquerella ’80 and Alumnae Association president Cynthia L. Reed ’80 to place bouquets at the gravesite.

At 9 pm Saturday, graduates will participate in the Baccalaureate service in Abbey Chapel, where they will be addressed by Professor KC Haydon ’00, assistant professor of psychology and education; Vincent Ferraro, Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics; and graduating senior Syeda Nazifa Tasnim.  In his talk, Ferraro will use the concept of power in international relations to highlight the importance of the liberal arts. Haydon, will discuss how the transformative power of relationships forged at Mount Holyoke lasts long after commencement.

In addition, Kristine Rose FP’15 will read her poem “Sisterhood: A Lens of Possibility.” Its message, she says, is captured in this excerpt: “…we know that ‘Making it’  has less to do with pushing through and more to do with seeing through the Eyes our Sisters who accompanied us along the way…”

Baccalaureate will be followed by the canoe sing, to begin at 10:30 pm on Lower Lake. Seniors in canoes—illuminated by lanterns and accompanied by classmates along the banks of the lake—will sing songs in celebration of commencement.

On Sunday, May 18, the commencement procession to Gettell Amphitheater will begin at 10 am, followed by the commencement ceremony at 10:30 am.  The commencement ceremony will be telecast to Clapp Laboratory’s Hooker Auditorium and to Blanchard Campus Center. Live video streaming of the event will begin shortly before the commencement procession starts.