Commencement/Reunion Weekend took place May 22-25, 2015. Commencement exercises were held on Tappan Square, at which time 689 arts and sciences and conservatory students received their degrees.
Commencement speaker Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, spoke to this year’s class. She also received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities.
Edelman has been a tireless advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, the Children's Defense Fund has become one of the nation's strongest voices for children and families.
In addition to Edelman, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the graduating class at 10 a.m. during the Commencement ceremony. Mrs. Obama also received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities. Her participation coincided with her Reach Higher initiative, recognizing Oberlin, Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Preparatory High School (King Prep) in Chicago, Illinois, for doing their part to answer the President’s call to ensure that America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Due to the visit by the First Lady, the college implemented several special procedures to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Read more about these procedures.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Commencement address presented in June 1965, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His address was entitled "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution." He also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Rather than a baccalaureate speaker, the college presented a panel discussion to commemorate King's visit, "Remaining Awake: 50 Years Later." Panelists were Johnnetta B. Cole ’57, director of the National Museum of African Art; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and director of the Children's Defense Fund; Alan B. Wachtel ’68, founder and director of Familyhealth Associates; and US Senator Harris L. Wofford of Pennsylvania. Oberlin Associate Professor of Religion A.G. Miller served as moderator.
The discussion took place Sunday, May 24 in Finney Chapel.
Our honorary degree, community service, and Alumni Association award winners:
- Jeremy Denk ’90, Honorary Doctor of Music
- Thomas W. Ebbesen ’76, Honorary Doctor of Science
- Marian Wright Edelman, Honorary Doctor of Humanities
- Robert Jervis ’62, Honorary Doctor of Humanities
- Robert Kuttner ’65, Honorary Doctor of Letters
- Michelle Obama, Honorary Doctor of Humanities
- Clyde Owan ’79, Alumni Medal
- Helen Thompson Taylor ’55, Community Service Award
- Allison Vulgamore ’80, Honorary Doctor of Music
The college also welcomed alumni and their families for class reunions and special events. Oberlin’s Commencement/Reunion Weekend featured such traditions as Illumination, the grand piano extravaganza, a performance by Oberlin Steel band, and some quirky Oberlin-style mortarboards and outfitting for the academic procession.
Popular events during Reunion included swing dancing, a 5K fun run and walk through town, and screenings of student and faculty films at the Apollo Theatre.
Review all activities for the weekend in the Commencement/Reunion Weekend booklet.
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