Graduates Celebrate 70th Commencement

A cold, drizzly day with two inches of fresh snow in Marlboro could not dampen the spirits of the 32 undergraduate and 39 graduate students marking their commencement on Sunday, May 14. Faculty, staff, friends, and family cheerily gathered in Persons Auditorium to celebrate the class of 2017.

“One of the great joys of being at Marlboro is to witness our students live their passions, learn new skills and grow into engaged citizens,” said President Kevin Quigley. “Today’s program eloquently catalogs the extraordinary breadth of their interests: exploring ideas about food, leadership, technology, computer programming, art and consumer culture, the environment, political rhetoric, religious communication, animal behavior, to name just a few of the Plan and Capstone topics.”

Graduates, and all those assembled in their honor, were treated to moving comments by student speakers Solomon Botwick-Ries ’17 and Nicolás Cárdenas Tamburini MATESOL ’17, and by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina ’72, who was conferred an honorary degree. An honorary degree was also conferred upon U.S. Congressman Peter Welch, who delivered a commencement address urging students to continue with the level of community engagement they honed at Marlboro.

“In times like this, where many people share my dismay in what’s going on in Washington, they can get discouraged,” said Congressman Welch. “There’s no guarantee that your efforts will be successful. It’s not a decision that you make because the outcome is certain. It’s a commitment that you make because it’s a way of life you want to embrace. None of us decides the times we live in, but every single one of us can decide how do we live in those times.”

Those assembled also enjoyed a processional and recessional performed by Helen Pinch ’18 on violin accompanied by music professor Matan Rubinstein on piano, and an interlude of Apres un reve, by Gabriel Fauré, sung by soprano Charlotte Nicholson ’18. The proceedings were concluded by valediction by Janaki Natarajan, degree chair for the MA in Teaching for Social Justice program. But the highlight, as always, was the conferring of degrees on each student who had followed their intellectual passion in Marlboro’s learning community.