For Fletcher students, the graduation ceremony is merely the (almost) final event in a weekend of togetherness. With the soon-to-be graduates only barely recovered from dawn to post-dusk Dis-Orientation activities, Commencement weekend kicks off on Friday (i.e. tomorrow) with breakfast and a graduation rehearsal at 8:00 a.m. The afternoon is unprogrammed (time to take visiting family around town for some sightseeing), but many will meet up again at 6:00 p.m. for a New England clambake, which is also the kick-off event for the Fletcher alumni reunion that runs in parallel this weekend.
Fletcher decided years ago to keep the focus on students during Sunday’s graduation ceremony, and a Class Day event was created on the Saturday of Commencement weekend for speeches, presentation of prizes, etc. The speaker for this year’s Class Day program will be our own Dean Stephen Bosworth, who is stepping down after more than a decade as dean. I’m sure it will be a bittersweet moment. Lunch will follow.
And then, finally, Sunday arrives. Students will kick off the day with a champagne breakfast, featuring toasts by the students selected by a vote of their peers. Champagne imbibed, students head off to the all-University ceremony (where Fletcher students are well known for their extra loud cheers when their degrees are awarded as a group), followed by the Fletcher ceremony, where each graduating student is handed a diploma by the dean (photos will be taken — smile!). Speeches will be delivered by peer-selected students and the recipient of the Paddock Prize for excellence in teaching, which went this year to Carolyn Gideon.
When the ceremony concludes, everyone works their way over to lunch via many hugs and well-wishes. All in all, a lovely event.