With all the ceremony that a significant academic achievement deserves, Commencement weekend kicks off today.  There’s a lot going on, both at Fletcher and Tufts University as a whole, and also some Tufts events that highlight Fletcher students and alumni.

Starting bright and early this morning, graduating students gathered for breakfast at 8:00, followed by a preparatory meeting and a rehearsal.  This afternoon, the General John R. Galvin Memorial Lecture will be given by Admiral Dennis Blair on “America’s East Asia Security Future: Navigating Rocks and Shoals, Rivalries and Relationships.”

By this evening, events will be designed not only for graduating students and their families, but also for alumni who are back on campus.  Yesterday, Laurie and I shared stories of the reuniting alumni we remember well — there are quite a few people from the Classes of 2013 and 2008 whom I recall interviewing before they applied.

Alumni, grads, family, and lobster-loving members of the staff and faculty will then come together for the annual Commencement weekend “clambake.”

Tomorrow morning, there’s another early start for the alumni, with breakfast for those who graduated 25 and 50 years ago, followed by a welcome from the dean and other topical programming for all.

While the alumni carry on reuniting, the graduating students attend the Class Day ceremony, with a greeting by Masha Gordon, F98, distribution of academic prizes, and an address by Ashton Carter, former U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Sunday features the All-University Commencement Ceremony, where degrees will be awarded by school and Farah Pandith, F95, will receive an honorary degree.  Depending on your area of interest, you might recognize others of the honorary degree recipients.

Back to Fletcher at about 11:00 for the School’s ceremony.  By this time, all the students should be expert at processionals and recessionals and keeping their academic regalia in place.  Every graduating student will proceed to the stage to receive a diploma and PhD students will receive their “hoods” from their advisors.  But first, Dean Stavridis will kick off the event, and the Admissions Office’s own Kristen Zecchi will receive the Administrator of the Year Award.  The prize for excellence in teaching will go to Professor Alnoor Ebrahim, who was on the Admissions Committee in 2016-2017.  Finally, two graduating students will present speeches — including Student Stories writer Pulkit!

Almost every year, I attend the Fletcher ceremony on Sunday, occasionally needing to attend Class Day on Saturday instead.  I’m looking forward to Sunday, to offering congratulatory hugs, meeting family members, and reflecting on the cycles of the academic year.  I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Brooklyn and Cindy, our super Admissions Graduate Assistants, to student members of the Admissions Committee, as well as volunteer interviewers and other folks who hang around the office, and to our bloggers Pulkit, Mariya, Adi, and Prianka.  With the good comes the sad, but knowing they’re heading off to do great stuff is what Fletcher is all about.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

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