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‘What a Perfect Day’

By Sherri Kimmel

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Morgan Williams, class of 2014 class speaker.

The sesquicentennial-year graduating class basked in a day that was comfortably cool and deliciously sunny June 1. Parents, professors, and friends could be heard repeating the standard line, “What a perfect day.”

Chair of the Board of Managers Gil Kemp ’72 highlighted the College anniversary in his opening remarks: “Today marks the end of the first 150 years, but it also marks the beginning of the next 150 years.”

Student speaker Morgan Willams ’14 provided levity and sparked a standing ovation with his comments, which concluded with the exhortation, “Strive to keep our arts liberal.”

President Rebecca Chopp, while referencing the sesquicentennial, devoted a portion of her remarks to a “gentle and giving” student who should have been among the gathering of 367 graduates in the Scott Amphitheater.

Chopp typified Ravi Thackurdeen as “a star that shone brightly in our midst.” The 2012 Richard Rubin Scholar who planned to major in chemistry, perished after being pulled out to sea while studying in Costa Rica in April 2012. Thirteen members of the Thackurdeen family, including Ravi’s brother, Sean ’12, attended the ceremony.

The audience also heard from honorary-degree recipients scholar and writer Thomas Laqueur ’67; documentary photographer Barbara “Bobbie” Norfleet ’47, P’79; vocalist and composer Vaneese Thomas ’74; and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen ’83, D-Md.

Special awards went to Jonathan Molloy (Ivy) and Naudia Williams (Oak Leaf) for outstanding leadership, scholarship, and contributions to the College community; Sierra Eckert (Lang) for outstanding academic accomplishment; and Katie Samuelson (McCabe Engineering) for outstanding achievement in engineering.

Watch highlights from the weekend at www.swarthmore.edu/commencement.

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