Yale Bulletin
and Calendar

May 31-June 21, 1999Volume 27, Number 33

Yale celebrates 298th Commencement

The air was electric with excitement on May 24, as more than 3,000 Yale students were granted degrees with the exchange of a time-honored formula between President Richard C. Levin and the deans of the various schools of the University.

Dean: "Mr. President, I have the honor to present candidates for the degrees of .... [naming the relevant school]. They have been recommended by the faculty of the School and approved by the Corporation. I now ask you, by your official act, to confer upon them these degrees."

President: "By the authority vested in me, I confer upon you [the degrees] as designated by the Dean and admit you to all their rights and responsibilities."

With those magic words, Yale students -- undergraduate, graduate and professional -- were transformed into Yale alumni.

This was the last Commencement of the 20th century, and Yale's 298th graduation. The day was gray and threatening, but rain held off until the ceremonies were over. About 12,000 friends and relatives came to witness the event, filling Old Campus from end to end.

Ten honorary doctoral degrees were awarded. A Doctor of Fine Arts degree was given to actress Julie Andrews, inspiring the University Concert Band to launch into a few bars of "The Sound of Music." Honorary doctorates were also granted to Alan Greenspan, chair of the Federal Reserve Board; Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences; Aharon Barak, president of the Supreme Court of Israel; the Right Reverend Barbara C. Harris, first female Episcopal bishop; Seamus Heaney, poet and Nobel laureate; S. Roger Horchow, entrepreneur, theater promoter and philanthropist; Charles Kuen Kao, developer of fiber optics; Dr. Julius B. Richmond, first director of Head Start; and Helen Suzman, South African lawmaker and a pioneer in the fight against apartheid.

A member of the Guild of Carillonneurs signaled the opening of Commencement ceremonies with peals of bells from Harkness Tower. The formal procession got under way to a fanfare of trumpets and stirring music from the Yale Band, including a composition by its director, Thomas Duffy. As the 12 residential college deans and masters marched by the seated ranks of undergraduates, the students roared with appreciation. The platform party, under a blue and white striped canopy, included officers of the University, fellows of the Yale Corporation, honorary degree recipients, emeritus professors, key administrators and other dignitaries.

Charles H. Long served as chief marshal of the processional, carrying the 24-pound, 47-inch-long University Mace, topped by a sphere of lapis lazuli and a small pine cone ornament. In his everyday life, Long is deputy provost and lecturer in English.

Senior marshal was Gustav Ranis, director of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and the Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics. He carried a four-foot-long mace with a richly decorated silver knob.

This year's Corporation Marshal was Dr. Howard Levitin, professor of internal medicine, who carried a mace with a heavy ivory knob inset with a brass shield. Both Ranis and Levitin assisted the President and Provost
Alison Richard with the hooding of the honorary degree recipients.

Numerous other marshals, both faculty and students, wielded symbolic maces and batons. Each school and residential college was accompanied by its heraldic banners, carried by students designated for special honors, and pride of place went, of course to the American flag and the flag of the State of Connecticut.

At the conclusion of the Commencement ceremonies, the Right Reverend Victoria Matthews, first female bishop of the Anglican Church in Canada and a fellow of the Yale Corporation, offered a stirring benediction, excerpted below:

"O Lord, we lift our hearts for the multitude of blessings You shower on us this day of days. We praise You
for the generations of teachers, scholars, staff and stu-dents who have worked, studied and played at Yale and thereby given You glory. We thank You for the awesome privilege of research and the forging and deepening of character that is wrought through perseverance and determination. ...

"We beseech You, almighty God, that each may receive the gift of wisdom as well as knowledge and know a passion for justice that outweighs any hunger for power. We pray that all may know our graduates to be a blessing, as well as blessed."

Diploma and awards ceremonies were held at the residential colleges and professional schools for their respective students, following the main ceremony.

-- By Gila Reinstein

C O M M E N C E M E N T1 9 9 9


Baccalaureate Address

Honorary Degrees

Senior Class Day

Teaching Prizes

Scholastic Prizes

Roosevelt L. Thompson Prize

Athletic Awards

David Everett Chantler Prize

Other Undergraduate Honors

Wilbur Cross Medals

Graduate Student Awards


Yale celebrates 298th Commencement
Yale launching a more user-friendly home page on the World Wide Web
Anthony T. Kronman reappointed as Dean of Law School
Festival will bring world of art and ideas to city
Endowed Professorships
New Haven attorney Julie Carter joins Office of General Counsel
To eat well, relax at the table, advises master chef Pépin
Reunion programs will both educate and entertain returning alumni
Some Yale graduates dancing down a different path
Yale's new student-built solar car headed for Sunracye '99
New alumnae's nursing training included health work overseas
Harold Samuel dies; brought musicians' archives to Yale
Dining staff friendliness ranks high on survey
Prostate Cancer Awareness Stamp to be unveiled at campus event
Conference to explore the future of language
Dr. William F. Collins is recognized for lifetime contributions to neurosurgery

Bulletin Home|Visiting on Campus|Calendar of Events| Bulletin Board
Classified Ads|Search Archives|Production Schedule|Bulletin Staff
Public Affairs Home|News Releases|E-Mail Us|Yale Home Page

Although it's just symbolic (for the moment), a happy graduate waves her diploma to the crowd on Old Campus.