Commencement is the most important of college traditions, and one of the activities that fills our Commencement weekend is the Baccalaureate service, which takes place on Saturday afternoon in Mead Chapel.
Traditionally, the purpose of Baccalaureate was/is for the president to give a farewell address to the seniors, which the president now gives to graduating seniors and their families. Because space is limited in Mead, our largest (and traditional venue) we hold two services.
Over the years, students have questioned the logic of dividing the class for this event, since it represents the “other bookend” of one’s education, where the first bookend was first-year convocation. At convocation, the president welcomes students to campus, and addresses the entire class as one.
Following several queries from students, we have been discussing what alternatives we have to the current set up. One that has been proposed would be to move the hour-long Baccalaureate service to Senior Week, and hold it on Wednesday afternoon just before the Senior BBQ. In this scenario, we would hold just one service, which would enable the entire senior class to be together in Mead just as they were at Convocation when they first entered Middlebury. We could then have a class picture following baccalaureate as we did following convocation, and move the senior BBQ to the quad in front of McCullough. It would also open up Saturday afternoon for families to take part in other events on campus, or just share time together. The downside to this option is that families would not be able to attend the service with the graduating seniors.
I would like to know whether this option has any appeal to the class of 2009. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Thanks.
UPDATE: sorry for the original typo and thanks for finding it. I did mean the Class of 2009.