MHC to Host 173rd Commencement May 23

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 15:00

Noted author and New York Times columnist Gail Collins will give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree when Mount Holyoke College celebrates its 173rd commencement on Sunday, May 23, in Gettell Amphitheater. The College will confer 621 degrees during the ceremony: 597 bachelor of arts degrees to seniors, including 36 Frances Perkins Scholars; one postbaccalaureate certificate; and 23 certificates to international students.

In addition to Collins, honorary degrees will be presented to outgoing Mount Holyoke president Joanne V. Creighton; educator, social worker, and activist Sheila Barshay Goldbloom '47; and world health entrepreneur Victoria Hale.

For the second year Mount Holyoke will broadcast its commencement around the globe live via the Web. Twitter fans will also be able to follow the event from a new perspective this year: Magdalena V. Georgieva, a member of the class of 2010, will serve as the voice of @mtholyoke on Twitter and post live tweets from a graduate's point of view throughout the event. Georgieva, an English major and a native of Varna, Bulgaria, has worked as a fellow in the College's Office of Communications during her time at Mount Holyoke and expects to pursue graduate studies and a career in the media.

Sarah Elahi '10 of Karachi, Pakistan, has been chosen to give the senior address. Elahi, who completed her degree in three years, majored in history with a concentration in modern South Asia and a minor in politics. Following graduation she plans to return home to Karachi, where she will continue the fundraising she began while at Mount Holyoke on behalf of Pakistani nongovernmental organizations and charities. She expects to attend graduate school and hopes to work in journalism, publishing, or education.

Two of the College's most cherished and time-honored commencement traditions will take place Saturday, May 22. The alumnae parade and laurel chain ceremony will begin at Woolley Circle at 9 am, when members of the class of 2010--dressed in white and carrying a garland chain--will be led by alumnae in a procession to the grave of Mount Holyoke's founder, Mary Lyon. There they will join MHC president Joanne V. Creighton and Alumnae Association president Cynthia L. Reed '80 to place the garland at the gravesite.

The second tradition is the canoe sing, which began in 1911. It will follow a 9 pm Baccalaureate service in Abbey Chapel and will begin at 10:30 pm on Lower Lake, where 12 canoes, illuminated by lanterns, will carry selected seniors to Upper Lake while they and classmates along the banks sing songs in celebration of commencement.

Commencement ceremonies will begin at 10:30 am in Gettell Amphitheater; the commencement procession will begin at 10 am. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in Kendall Field House. Live streaming of the event will begin shortly before the commencement procession steps off. Web viewers will need Adobe Flash Player version 9 or higher and a high-speed Internet connection to watch the event on their computers.

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