College Street

19 Things We Love About Commencement

•    Youngman Field at 4 a.m., dress code ranging from coats and ties to flannel pajamas

•    The pre-dawn diligence of a legion of facilities professionals

•    The pre-dawn student serenade of the president at 3 South Street and subsequent breakfast at Steve’s Park Diner

•    The president picking up the tab at Steve’s

•    A two-hour period that can start out cold and rainy and can conclude warm and sunny

•    Phil Cyr’s behind-the-scenes stage management

•    The colorful array of flags, representing the countries of the international graduates, flying from the top of Voter Hall

•    The custom of academic regalia dating back to the 12th century

•    Hoods on faculty gowns, specifically their distinctive colors that signify the faculty member’s graduate institution

•    The student speaker. “Not that it isn’t great to get advice from cool people who have accomplished a lot in their lives,” says a recent grad, “but what was more meaningful to me was hearing what Midd meant to someone from our class . . . who knows the nuances of our lives at the College.”

•    Six hundred replicas of Gamaliel Painter’s cane and the convoluted exchange that goes into receiving said cane and diploma

•    Gamaliel Painter’s actual cane, carried in the procession by the president

•    The Alice in Wonderland-type hats donned by the faculty marshals

•    The shouts from families when their graduate walks across the stage (almost as if they weren’t sure this would actually happen)

•    Faculty or staff or trustee-parents presenting the diploma to sons or daughters

•    The wonderfully rich tenor of François Clemmons

•    Rap, rap, rap, and tap, tap, tap

•    Professors lining Storrs Walk and applauding the graduates as they exit

•    Mead Chapel’s carillon drifting over a nearly empty campus in the early afternoon

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