Office of Media Relations
Brown University to Hold 238th Commencement on Sunday, May 28
Chief Marshal Roger L. Hale will lead more than 6,000 people down College Hill on Sunday, May 28, 2006, in one of the nation’s largest and most colorful academic pageants. The procession and academic exercises will cap a three-day Commencement/Reunion Weekend on the Brown campus. Brown University’s 238th Commencement will follow a new plan, for the first time in the history of the University. Due in part to the large size of the Class of 2006, graduates will assemble in front of the First Baptist Church in America, rather than inside.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — On Sunday morning, May 28, 2006, Commencement Chief Marshal Roger L. Hale, a 1956 graduate and father of three Brown alumni, will lead thousands of graduates, alumni, faculty and University guests in a march down College Hill. The mile-long procession, accompanied by an entourage of bagpipers, highland drummers, television cameras and the Brown Band, will mark the beginning of Brown University’s 238th Commencement exercises and the conclusion of Brown’s three-day Commencement/Reunion Weekend.
President Ruth J. Simmons, her party, members of the Brown Corporation, invited guests, faculty, alumni, and the graduating classes of the College, the Graduate School and the Medical School will march through the ceremonial Van Wickle Gates, which opened inward to admit the Class of 2006 four years ago, and now open outward for the graduates’ symbolic march into the world beyond Brown.
After thousands march through the gates, Brown’s Sunday-morning Commencement exercises include three separate convocations prior to the all-University exercises back on The College Green.
A short ceremony for graduating seniors will begin at the Church. A student will perform the national anthem, and the University chaplain will deliver the invocation. Representatives of the senior class will then enter the First Baptist Church and bring out the Manning Chair, which is the ceremonial chair used by the president for Commencement. The president will conduct the conferral of the baccalaureate degrees in Latin from the Manning Chair.
These ceremonial events, which will be approximately 10 minutes in length, will be simulcast with closed captioning to The College Green via two large video screens. The University provides 12,000 folding chairs for graduates and their guests.
Following the conferral of the degrees at the church, the president and the senior class will recess from the church grounds and return to The College Green. Then, at 12:50 p.m. the Senior Orations will begin.
The University Ceremony
By approximately 1:15 p.m., more than 10,000 people will have found their way to The College Green for the University’s Commencement exercises and the ritual presentation of symbolic degrees by the president. In all, President Simmons will deliver formal Latin salutations to nearly 1,600 baccalaureate candidates, 600 candidates for advanced degrees and eight candidates for honorary degrees. Flags from more than 70 nations, from Cape Verde to Qatar, representing the homelands of the Class of 2006, will be flown during the University ceremony.
The University Ceremony on The College Green involves students from all three schools. During the University ceremony the following events take place:
Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations for Commencement Weekend events should contact the University. Call the Office of University Events at (401) 863-2108 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.
The Commencement procession will be cancelled only in the event of heavy rain. If heavy rain begins, a yellow pennant will be flown from the flagpole on The College Green, indicating that the rain plan is in effect. In this event, the University ceremony is not held, and the presentation of symbolic baccalaureate degrees and the conferral of honorary degrees will take place in the Pizzitola Sports Center in a version of the College ceremony (which will be simulcast to Salomon Center and Sayles Hall and audiocast to Meehan Auditorium and Manning Chapel for parents and guests). The Graduate and Medical School Ceremonies will be held in their respective locations, which are tented and indoors, respectively. The departmental diploma ceremonies will be held in the assigned rain-plan locations immediately following the College ceremony.
More than 3,500 Brown alumni/ae, friends and family will return to the campus for reunion celebrations surrounding Commencement. Further information on reunion activities is available from the Commencement/Reunion Voice Mail Information Line: (401) 863-7000.
A Synopsis of The Commencement/Reunion Weekend Schedule
Friday, May 26
Saturday, May 27
Sunday, May 28
Editors: Additional Commencement news will be released during the month of May. Contact Media Relations at (401) 863-2476 or consult the Media Relations Web site for updates [www.brown.edu/news].
University-issued press credentials are recommended for any events that are open to press.
Reporters and photographers may register for credentials with Deborah Goldstein by calling (401) 863-2478 or sending an e-mail to [email protected]. Credentials require the reporter’s name, organization represented, and contact information for both telephone and e-mail. Credentials may be picked up at Media Relations beginning Thursday, May 25.
The Commencement Information Hotline is (401) 863-7000. Please make use of it to order tickets for some events and to secure more specific information about many of the activities planned for Commencement weekend.