On Williams College's grandest occasion, in front of its biggest crowd and surrounded by the trappings of pomp and circumstance, the student speakers at Sunday morning's commencement exercises focused on the mundane.
Jeremy Patterson admires the traditional college graduate, one the ones who had the foresight and commitment to delve right into higher education.
Patterson is not a traditional graduate. At age 26 neither he or his wife had even graduated high school. He was out of work and trying to care for their three children. Then one day in 2007 they packed everything they owned into a 1992 Oldsmobile and left their rural home in Florida, driving to a new home in the Berkshires.
Lewis would join King and the Civil Rights Movement and help organize the 1963 March on Washington as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He would be arrested 40 times, and five more while representing Georgia's 5th District.
Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago, will serve as the keynote speaker at Berkshire Community College's 57th commencement.
Santiago was appointed to his position by Gov.Charlie Baker in July 2015. Working with the Board of Higher Education, he is responsible for providing overall direction to public higher education in Massachusetts and helping shape state-level policies that maximize the benefits of higher education to the Commonwealth and its citizens. Santiago joined the Mass
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, will be the principal speaker at Williams College's 228th commencement exercise on Sunday, June 4.
The day before, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will be the baccalaureate speaker.
This year's keynote speaker will be U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a leader of the Civil Rights Movement who, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups to organize the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis will receive an honorary doctor of public service.
Social change and children's books were themes that ran through the 227th commencement exercises at Williams College.
The college graduated 538 undergraduates in a ceremony threatened by heavy rain Sunday morning but conducted on the college's West Lawn with only a minor sprinkle to detract from the speakers.
Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, will be the principal speaker at Williams College's 227th Commencement Exercise on Sunday, June 5.
The day before, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and science journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will be the baccalaureate speaker. Both will receive honorary degrees at commencement, as will Sarah Bolton, current dean of the college at Williams and president-elect of The College of Wooster; author and illustrator Eric Carle; writer and commentator
State Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, will be the keynote speaker at Berkshire Community College's 56th Commencement Exercises to be held June 3 at Tanglewood in Lenox.
Downing was first elected in 2006 at the age of 24. During his decade of service, Downing, who recently announced that he will not seek a sixth term, has represented 52 communities of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District, the largest Senate district in the commonwealth.
Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, will address graduates at the 47th commencement ceremony of Bard College at Simon's Rock, The Early College, on Saturday, May 21, at 11 a.m.
The ceremony is free and open to the public; priority seating given to the families of graduates.