By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Thousands of family members and friends will be on hand Sunday, May 20, to cheer on 900 undergraduate and graduate students during Bucknell University's 162nd Commencement.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the Academic Quadrangle, where the University expects to present 880 undergraduate and 20 graduate degrees. In the event of rain, commencement will be held in the Gerhard Fieldhouse.
Among undergraduates, 745 members of the Class of 2012 will be awarded degrees in the arts and sciences, while another 135 will receive degrees in engineering. The soon-to-be graduates represent 36 states and the District of Columbia and 19 nations.
Anna Quindlen, an award-winning columnist, celebrated journalist and best-selling author will present this year's keynote commencement address. Quindlen is the first author ever to have fiction, non-fiction and self-help books appear on The New York Times bestseller lists.
"Anna Quindlen has turned her passion and ideas into an overwhelmingly successful career, both as a journalist and an author," Bucknell President John Bravman said. "We look forward to the insights about life, work and success she will offer to the Class of 2012 on this momentous day in our students' lives."
Prior to the ceremony, the award-winning Penn Central Wind Band will perform celebratory music on the Academic Quad. Bucknell has sponsored this ensemble as a service to the region for nearly 16 years.
Thousands of people travel from across the globe to Bucknell to see their loved ones graduate. Given the importance of this special moment, the University is working to improve the experience for all guests, regardless of where they sit on the quad. This year, two large projection screens will be on hand to display the event live for all to see.
For those unable to attend in person, a live streaming video of the ceremony — from start to finish — also will be presented online. || (Live streaming details)
In the event of rain, more than 9,000 ponchos are available to guests, and will be distributed from various stations on the quad. Should the forecast call for more inclement weather, a decision on whether the ceremony will be moved inside will be made at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. That decision will be announced on Bucknell's home page and other sites.
If weather does force the ceremony inside, Commencement will be held in the Gerhard Fieldhouse. Graduates and ticket holders will be permitted inside. Other guests will be able to view a live broadcast of the event at one of several locations, including the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, Trout Auditorium in the Vaughan Literature Building, and several classrooms.
Other graduation weekend event highlights:
- The inaugural Commencement Concert with Cherish the Ladies will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, in the Weis Center. This one-of-a-kind concert features legendary singer Maura O'Connell, a special string ensemble directed by Bucknell Associate Professor of Music Christopher Para, and world-champion Irish dancers. The production will be filmed by WVIA Public Media Studios in high definition for later distribution to public television stations nationwide. General admission tickets are $25 per person and $10 for college and K-12 students. Advance tickets can be charged through the Campus Box Office or by calling 570-577-1000.
- The Inter-Religious Baccalaureate Service for graduates and guests will be held in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19. This year's speaker is the Rev. Donald W. Cramer from Saint Monica Parish in Sunbury. No tickets are required, but seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 7 p.m.
- Also on Saturday, May 19, seniors will line the perimeter of the Academic Quadrangle at 9 p.m. to participate in the Candlelighting Ceremony. This event recreates the ceremony in which the class participated during their first-year orientation. Parents, family and friends are encouraged to attend and will be seated in the center of the Quad. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the Gerhard Fieldhouse.
- The Class of 2012 will process in academic cap and gown to the Academic Quad from the Christy Mathewson Memorial Gateway, the same gate through which they passed as first-year students when they were welcomed into the Bucknell community. This passage will mark their transition to alumni. Bucknell has nearly 50,000 living alumni.
A complete schedule of commencement events, registration and general information, including accommodations and dining, is available at Commencement 2012.
Contact: Division of Communications