The Baccalaureate Service, with roots in medieval academic tradition, honors the achievements of the candidates for the bachelor’s (“bacca”) degree by presenting them with the laurels (“lauri”) of oration. Brown’s baccalaureate tradition derives from the wide 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.
The Baccalaureate address will be delivered to the University’s undergraduate Class of 2020 on Saturday afternoon at the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. With that space reserved for members of the graduating class, the Baccalaureate address will be presented on video screens for family and friends on the College Green, in Sayles Hall and in the Salomon Center for Teaching.
Past speakers have included actor John Krasinksi; performer, rapper and writer Daveed Diggs; director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian Kevin Gover; former San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan; forest ecologist and outspoken advocate for the communication of science Nalini Moreshwar Nadkarni; and Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan.
Watch their speeches: