Brown University’s Commencement is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most colorful academic pageants. A media guide to Brown University’s three-day Commencement-Reunion Weekend follows here. See also:
   Statistics: Brown to confer 2,259 degrees
   Baccalaureate: David Rohde to speak
   Honors: Brown to confer eight honorary degrees
   2010 Commencement program downloads (pdf)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — H. Anthony Ittleson, a 1960 Brown graduate and chief marshal for the University’s 2010 Commencement, will lead thousands of graduates, alumni, faculty, and administrators through the Van Wickle Gates and down College Hill on Sunday morning, May 30, 2010. Brown’s Commencement procession — more than a mile long — caps a three-day Commencement/Reunion Weekend.

Most events on Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30, are open to the public, although access to some venues is restricted due to space limitations. A summary of the weekend’s main events appears below. Additional information and links to other sources of information will be added to this page periodically.

Editors: University-issued press credentials will be required for all reporters, photographers, videographers and other media representatives. To register for credentials, call Janet Kerlin in the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2478 or send e-mail to janet_kerlin@brown.edu. The reporter’s name, organization, telephone, and e-mail address are required. Requests for credentials must be made by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. Credentials will be available Thursday morning at the Office of Media Relations, 71 George St.

Editors: In advance of the Commencement ceremonies on Sunday morning, most streets near campus will be designated one-way; many will be closed to vehicles. Access for live trucks and other vehicles must be scheduled in advance. Space for media will be reserved on the College Green, and access to the audio signal will be provided. Credentials will be required for access to the press area. Contact: Janet Kerlin at (401) 863-2478 or janet_kerlin@brown.edu.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Commencement Forums

A Commencement tradition celebrating its 40th year, the Commencement Forums offer insight, expertise, and discussion on topics across a variety of fields. More than a dozen sessions are scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 2010:

9:30 a.m.

  • From Pakistan to Times Square: The New International Terrorism   David Rohde, investigative reporter, The New York Times (Salomon Center for Teaching)
  • A Non-Conventional Path Toward World-Class Excellence: Practices of Leading Chinese Universities   Wei Yang, president, Zhejiang University (MacMillan Hall, Room 115)
  • Framing Haiti: The Context of Haiti’s Earthquake and Brown’s Response   Matthew Gutmann, vice president for international affairs, moderates a panel of faculty and distinguished guests (List Art Center, Room 120)
  • Garibaldi on the Surface: Collaborative Work in Advancing Digital Scholarship Through the Use of Touch-Enabled Technologies   Massimo Riva, professor of Italian studies; Andries van Dam, professor of computer science; Harriette Hemmasi, University librarian (CIT, Room 368)
  • Food: It’s Not Just for Eating Anymore. Food Scholarship Projects in the Public Humanities   Steven Lubar, director of the John Nicholas Brown Center, with alumnae and graduate students in the public humanities program (John Nicholas Brown Center)

11 a.m.

  • Programming in the Past, Present, and Future   Barbara Liskov, Institute Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MacMillan Hall, Room 115)
  • The Past as Recorded in Early North India   Romila Thapar, professor emerita of ancient Indian history, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India (List Art Center, Room 120)
  • Crime, Punishment, and Mass Incarceration   Peter F. Neronha, U.S. attorney for Rhode Island; Glenn Loury, professor of economics; A.T. Wall, director, R.I. Department of Corrections; Jim Lucht, Providence Plan (Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, Room 220)
  • Freedom to Write: A Personal Perspective   Shahrnush Parsipur, novelist; Shiva Balaghi, historian of the modern Middle East; Robert Coover, visiting professor of literary arts; Ateqah Khaki, member of the ACLU’s National Security Project (Salomon Center for Teaching)

1 p.m.

  • Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815   Gordon Wood, the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history emeritus (Salomon Center for Teaching)
  • Brown Alumni Magazine Forum: What’s Ahead for Magazines and Newspapers?   Norman Boucher, editor and publisher of the Brown Alumni Magazine, moderates an alumni panel: Rob Fleder, Sports Illustrated; Elizabeth Baker Keffer, The Atlantic; Bob Safian, Fast Company; Michael Zimbalist, The New York Times (Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001)
  • From Policy to Practice: What Health Care Reform Means for You   Terrie Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health and public policy, moderates an alumni discussion with David Bowen, former staff director for health of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (MacMillan Hall, Room 117)
  • It’s a Girl! The Meaning of Being a Woman in Indian Society   Lina Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology (List Art Center, Room 120)

Hour with the President   9:30 a.m., Lincoln Field

President Ruth J. Simmons discusses the Plan for Academic Enrichment and the latest developments at Brown with alumni, graduates, parents and friends.

Baccalaureate procession   1:45 p.m.

The first formal academic procession of the weekend begins at 1:45 p.m., as graduating seniors make their way from the College Green to the First Baptist Meeting House.

Baccalaureate service   2:30 p.m., The First Baptist Meeting House

Brown’s baccalaureate tradition derives from the immense range of religious, ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and musical traditions present within the campus community. The ceremony includes rituals, readings, and prayers from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and animist traditions, as well as choral and instrumental music, the Chinese lion dance, poetry, dance, and Taiko and Senegalese drumming. David Rohde, a 1990 Brown graduate and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, will deliver the Baccalaureate address. The service will be simulcast to the College Green. [See separate news release.]

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Commencement procession   9:45 a.m., The Van Wickle Gates

The University’s ceremonial Van Wickle Gates open twice a year: in the fall as new students enter campus, and in the spring as graduates depart for the larger world beyond campus.

Graduate School convocation  10:15 a.m., Lincoln Field

Dean of the Graduate School Sheila Bonde will preside. In addition to the conferral of advanced degrees, the convocation includes a Commencement address by a student elected by the Graduate Student Council and the presentation of the Horace Mann Medal, first awarded in 2003, when the Graduate School celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Arsalan Ali Faheem, a master’s degree candidate in public policy, will deliver the Graduate School’s Commencement address titled “The Kaleidoscope: From Pindi to Providence.”

Lynn Pasquerella, a 1985 doctoral recipient, will receive the Horace Mann Medal. Pasquerella, currently provost and chief academic officer at the University of Hartford, is president-elect of Mount Holyoke College.

Alpert Medical School convocation   11:15 a.m., The First Unitarian Church

Edward J. Wing, M.D., dean of medicine and biological sciences, will preside over the 36th Commencement of the Alpert Medical School. Wing will administer the Physician’s Oath, a version of the Hippocratic Oath prepared medical graduates in the Class of 1975, the school’s first graduating class.

T.R. Reid, Washington Post reporter, NPR commentator and author, will deliver an address titled “The Moral Imperative.”

Julianne Ip, M.D., associate dean of medicine for the Program in Liberal Medical Education and member of Brown’s M.D. Class of 1978, will speak on “Gathering Your Qi.”

Jacquelyn Anne Hatch, a member of the graduating M.D. class, will deliver the student address, “Falling in Love … with Medical School.”

Julie Scott Taylor, M.D., associate professor of family medicine, will receive the Medical Senior Citation.

College ceremony   12:10 p.m., The First Baptist Meeting House

Since 1776, all but two Brown University Commencements have been held in the First Baptist Meeting House. In 2006, when the graduating class had grown too large to be safely accommodated, the students voted to preserve the tradition by holding part of the Commencement ceremony on the church grounds. President Ruth J. Simmons greets the class, delivers brief remarks, and confers degrees on the church grounds; the balance of the ceremony takes place on the College Green.

University convocation   12:45 p.m., The College Green

Honorary degrees  [See separate news release.]
Honorary degrees are voted by the Board of Fellows of the Brown Corporation and conferred on the College Green. This year, the University will honor eight persons with honorary doctorates:

Morgan Freeman, actor:  Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.)
Barbara Liskov, computer scientist:  Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Nelson Mandela, human rights leader:  Doctor of Laws (LL.D.), awarded in absentia
Shahrnush Parsipur, author:  Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Cecile Richards, civic leader:  Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
David Rohde, international correspondent:  Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Romila Thapar, historian:  Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Gordon S. Wood, historian:  Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)

Senior orators  [See feature article in Today at Brown]
One of the University’s oldest traditions is that members of the graduating class deliver the Commencement addresses. The two 2010 senior orators will deliver their addresses on the College Green during the University convocation, beginning at approximately 12:45 p.m.:

Tatiana Gellein, of Seattle, will deliver an oration titled “Jonah Lives in Theory.” Gellein, a human biology concentrator, was admitted to Brown’s eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education and will begin her studies at Alpert Medical School next fall.

Tan Nguyen, of Thai Binh, Vietnam, will deliver an oration titled “Walking on the Tightrope.” Nguyen is pursuing both a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics/economics and a master’s degree in economics.

Awarding of diplomas

Graduating seniors receive their diplomas at departmental ceremonies immediately following the University ceremony. There are more than 50 departmental ceremonies; a map and location information is printed in the Commencement program.