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Kenyon to Celebrate Two Classes with Unique Double Commencements

GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College will celebrate more than 400 members of the Class of 2022 at its 194th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 21, at 10:30 a.m. Exactly 24 hours later, more than 300 members of the Class of 2020 who plan to return to campus will celebrate the College’s 192nd Commencement, delayed due to COVID-19.

Both ceremonies are scheduled to be held on the lawn between two of the College’s oldest academic buildings, Ascension Hall and Samuel Mather Hall. Faculty members and students will proceed to the ceremonies along Kenyon’s iconic Middle Path.

This year’s events mark a more complete return to tradition after the disruptions of the pandemic. The Class of 2020 finished their final semester of coursework remotely and had their degrees conferred in a virtual event incorporating some elements of both Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies; diplomas were mailed to graduates over the summer. Last year, the Class of 2021 participated in a modified 193rd Commencement ceremony on Kenyon’s McBride Field. 

Investigative journalist Sheila Coronel is the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2022; television producer Samie Kim Falvey (a 1996 Kenyon alumna) will deliver remarks to the Class of 2020, as had been originally planned before the outbreak of the pandemic. (Learn more about Coronel and Falvey). Both speakers will receive honorary doctorates from Kenyon.

Also receiving honorary doctorates are faculty and staff members who will retire this year or who retired in 2020. At the 194th Commencement, these include Himmelright Professor of Economics David E. Harrington (presented in absentia); Assistant Manager of Facility Services Laura H. Moore; Managing Director of the Philander Chase Conservancy Lisa D. Schott, Class of 1980; Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies Ric S. Sheffield; and College Historian and Keeper of Kenyoniana Thomas P. Stamp, Class of 1973. 

At the 192nd Commencement, these include Professor Emeritus of English James P. Carson (in absentia); Professor Emerita of French Mary Jane Cowles; Professor Emeritus of Psychology Allan Fenigstein (in absentia); Professor Emeritus of History Bruce L. Kinzer; Writer-in-Residence P.F. Kluge, Class of 1964; Associate Professor Emerita of English Deborah M. Laycock (in absentia); Assistant Professor Emerita of English Ellen S. Mankoff (in absentia); Director of the Math and Science Skills Center Barbara H. Reitsma (conferred posthumously); and Professor of Art History Kristen Van Ausdall (conferred posthumously).

The College will precede its 194th Commencement celebration with a Baccalaureate service for the Class of 2022 on Friday, May 20, at 1:30 p.m. on Samuel Mather lawn. The service features readings of academic and spiritual texts chosen and presented by a diverse group of seniors. Members of the graduating class voted to invite Assistant Professor of Psychology Leah Dickens to give this year’s Baccalaureate address, entitled “Being Human Means Being Emotional.” Following the service, the class will gather on the steps of Rosse Hall for the Senior Sing, a beloved Kenyon tradition.

In the case of inclement weather, events will be held at the Lowry Center, 221 Duff St. Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate or Commencement ceremonies, which will be livestreamed. Members of the media interested in attending Commencement should contact News Director / Writer David Hoyt at hoytd@kenyon.edu.

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