Bowdoin College will hold its 217th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday and confer bachelor of arts degrees on 450 graduates.

College President Clayton S. Rose will preside and award degrees on the terrace of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on the Quad. In the event of very severe weather, commencement will be held in Sidney J. Watson Arena.

Of the 450 graduates, 38 are from Maine. Forty-three states are represented, including Massachusetts with 64 students, New York with 57, California with 41, and Connecticut with 22. Fifty-two graduating seniors hail from outside the US; 29 countries and territories have citizens graduating from Bowdoin.

Bowdoin College will award honorary doctorates to contemporary artist Katherine Bradford, best-selling children’s author Raquel Jaramillo (R. J. Palacio), economist and president of Thomas College Laurie Gagnon Lachance, award-winning journalist and social activist Janet Langhart-Cohen and decorated marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Since 1806, Bowdoin has given the honor of speaking at commencement to graduating seniors. Until 1877 every graduate had a speaking part. The custom of selecting student commencement speakers through competition began in the 1880s.

Past speakers have included poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1825, House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed in 1860, Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary in 1877 and biologist and researcher Alfred Kinsey in 1916. This year’s commencement speakers are Ryan Britt and Journey Browne.

Other participants include Thomas College president and honorary degree recipient Laurie Gagnon Lachance, who will deliver greetings from the state of Maine and Eduardo Pazos Palma, assistant dean of student affairs for inclusion and diversity and director of multicultural student life, who will deliver the invocation, and class president Carlos Campos.


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