The News Service
Overview: 2004 Commencement/Reunion Weekend
Brown University to hold 236th Commencement Monday, May 31
More than 6,000 people will march down College Hill on Memorial Day, May 31, 2004, in one of the nation’s largest and most colorful academic pageants. The procession and academic exercises cap a four-day Commencement/Reunion Weekend on the Brown campus.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — On Monday morning, May 31, 2004, Chief Marshal Norma Munves of the Fiftieth Reunion Class of 1954 will lead more than 6,000 graduates, alumni, faculty, parent educators and University guests in a march down College Hill. The mile-long procession, accompanied by an entourage of bagpipers, highland drummers, television cameras and marching bands, will mark the beginning of Brown University’s 236th Commencement exercises, capping a four-day Commencement-Reunion Weekend.
This year’s procession will also be the last to occur on Memorial Day. Beginning with Commencement 2005, the University’s Commencement exercises will be held on the Sunday before the last Monday in May.
The ceremonial Van Wickle Gates, which opened inward to admit the Class of 2004 four years ago, will swing outward for the graduates’ symbolic march into the world beyond Brown. The procession steps off at 8:30 a.m., led by candidates for medical degrees, then graduate degrees, then bachelor’s degrees.
Editors: A calendar of the weekend’s main events is included at the end of this release. Additional Commencement news releases (honorary degree recipients, Commencement forums, concerts and events, etc.) will be forthcoming. Contact the News Service – (401) 863-2476 – or consult the News Service Web site – www.brown.edu/news – for updates.
Credentials will be required for any Commencement/Reunion events that are open to press. Reporters and photographers may register for credentials by calling Dionne Montgomery in the News Service at (401) 863-2476 or by sending e-mail to News_Service@brown.edu. Include your name, the organization you represent, and both telephone and e-mail contact information. Credentials will be available at the News Service during business hours beginning Thursday, May 27.
Brown’s Monday-morning Commencement exercises include three separate convocations prior to the all-University exercises on The College Green:
By approximately 11:30 a.m., more than 10,000 people will have found their way to The College Green for the University’s Commencement exercises and the ritual conferral of degrees by the president and chancellor. In all, President Simmons will deliver formal Latin salutations to nearly 1,500 baccalaureate candidates, 500 candidates for advanced degrees and nine candidates for honorary degrees. Flags from 64 nations, representing the homelands of the Class of 2004, will be flown during the University ceremony.
Because the graduating Class of 2004 fills the First Baptist Church, parents and friends of the graduates traditionally gather on The College Green to listen to a broadcast of the undergraduate ceremony and view the proceedings on a large outdoor video screen, which will include captioning. The University provides 12,000 folding chairs for graduates and their guests, but Commencement is usually a standing-room-only event. In case of rain on Monday, an audio feed will be available for parents and guests in Meehan Auditorium, Hope Street at Lloyd Avenue, and in Sayles Hall and the Salomon Center for Teaching.
By long tradition, Brown does not invite a single main speaker to deliver a Commencement address to graduating seniors, but asks a number of individuals, including students, to contribute remarks at the various Commencement convocations. This year’s speakers will include:
Receiving a bachelor’s degree at Brown is a three-step process. First, during College ceremonies at the First Baptist Church in America, President Simmons will present candidates for the bachelor’s degree to members of the Corporation, who will authorize her to confer the degrees. Second, during University ceremonies on The College Green, Simmons will confer all bachelor’s degrees symbolically by presenting a diploma to one recipient of each degree (A.B., Sc.B., A.B./Sc.B.). Third, graduates will receive their individual diplomas during departmental ceremonies held at various locations on and off campus at the conclusion of the University ceremony, approximately 12:30 p.m. A listing of sites for these ceremonies is included in the Commencement program, distributed on campus Commencement morning.
Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations for Commencement Weekend events or who are eligible for reserved handicap parking should contact the University. Call the Office of University Events at (401) 863-2474 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Closed captioning will be available on The College Green for the weekend’s major ceremonies.
If Monday is damp or threatening, outdoor activities will proceed as scheduled. If steady rain begins, a yellow pennant will be flown from the flagpole on The College Green, indicating that the rain plan is in effect. In that event, Commencement ceremonies scheduled for The College Green will take place at the First Baptist Church in America, and the departmental ceremonies will move to rain plan sites listed in the Commencement program. Guests of undergraduates may listen to an audio feed of the ceremonies in Meehan Auditorium, Hope Street at Lloyd Avenue, and in Sayles Hall and the Salomon Center for Teaching.
More than 3,500 Brown alumni/ae, friends and family will return to the campus for reunion celebrations which surround Commencement. Further information on reunion activities is available from the Commencement/Reunion Voice Mail Information Line: (401) 863-7000.
The Commencement/Reunion Weekend schedule
Friday, May 28
Saturday, May 29
Sunday, May 30
Monday, May 31