“Commencement is the pinnacle event for Carleton each year,” says Kerry Raadt, Carleton’s director of events. “It celebrates what we’re all here for—educating young people—and it honors their four years of achievement.”
In the week leading up to graduation, the 502 members of the Class of 2013 participated in an array of activities, including karaoke at the Rueb, bowling, senior prom at the Grand, a champagne toast at the Weitz Center, a reception for parents and graduates at Nutting House, and departmental get-togethers at various venues.
But the highlight, of course, was the 139th Commencement ceremony: the chapel chimes, academic procession, reflections, conferring of honorary degrees, awarding of diplomas, singing of the alma mater—and, finally, the recessional. Amid smiles and tears, our newest alumni marched out between two columns of applauding faculty members, into the arms of their proud families and friends, and on to the rest of their lives.
“The Carleton experience, at its core, pushes you to be brave. . . . . A community of passionate, curious, and supportive people has enabled us to gain a tremendous amount of courage. What’s the cost of making a mistake when you’re surrounded by people who truly care about you?”
—Charlie Bentley ’13 (Springfield, Mo.), “The Problems That Don’t Exist Yet”
“The magic of Carleton, for me, was its prompt to think critically, to turn around, to open up to what I really care about: I started to think less about success and more
about vocation. That, as my women’s and gender studies profs would say, is deeply subversive. Let’s not lose it.”
—Chloe Zelkha ’13 (Palo Alto, Calif.), “Try”
“I know only a little about imprisonment . . . I gave up on the self at that interval, my brother in another cage, same crime. So little faith in self I thought three Indian gangsters, white, were worth insult. I tried to put them in hell altogether. Meanwhile, you saw justice for the whole world.” (excerpt from Michael Harper’s poem written in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday)
—Michael Harper, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, former poet laureate of Rhode Island, professor of literary arts at Brown University
“There always will be a better way to do things. You, as young people, have no vested interest in the status quo, and for you everything should be possible.”
—Bruce Alberts, Doctor of Science, honoris causa, professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics at University of California–San Francisco, editor-in-chief of Science magazine
Three members of the Class of 2013—biology major Julissa Chavez (Chicago), studio arts major Richard Barraza (Chicago), and Latin American studies major Zachary Baquet (Harvey, La.)—smile for the camera at Commencement in June. Chavez and Barraza wear blue stoles given by the college to Posse scholars and Baquet wears a yellow stole given by the Office of Intercultural & International Life (OIIL).