Kenyon celebrated 445 members of the Class of 2017 at its 189th Commencement ceremony at the Kenyon Athletic Center Saturday, May 20.
University of Texas Head Basketball Coach Shaka Smart ’99 delivered the Commencement address. "Today, more than ever, the world you’re inheriting needs you to choose a path that makes you come alive and follow it unapologetically," Smart said to the graduating seniors. "You won’t regret it."
Smart rose to fame by leading the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams to an unexpected Final Four appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. In 2015, he moved to Austin to coach the Texas Longhorns.
Speaking at Kenyon's Commencement "is a wonderful opportunity for me to participate in the most important day of the year at a place that was incredibly important in helping me become who I am,” Smart said. “It also allows me the chance to return to be around some of the people who played an instrumental role in shaping my life.”
During his distinguished career on the Lords basketball team, Smart became the program’s career leader in assists (542). In his senior season, he was recognized as the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was selected as a member of the USA Today All-USA Academic Team.
Smart, who majored in history at Kenyon and graduated magna cum laude with high honors, will receive an honorary doctorate from the College. President Sean Decatur characterized Smart as “not only a brilliant coach, but a true advocate for the value of the liberal arts and the importance of the classroom experience for student athletes.”
Also receiving honorary doctorates were four retiring faculty members who have more than 150 combined years of service to the College: Professor of Biology Kathryn L. Edwards, Professor of Political Science John M. Elliott, Professor of Spanish Linda D. Metzler and Professor of Japanese Hideo Tomita.
On Friday, May 19, on Samuel Mather lawn, the College celebrated its Baccalaureate service, which featured readings of academic and spiritual texts chosen and presented by members of the senior class. Associate Provost Ivonne M. García gave this year’s Baccalaureate address. Following the service, graduating students participated in Senior Sing on the steps of Rosse Hall, exactly three years, eight months and 22 days after they gathered for the First-Year Sing.
Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate or Commencement ceremonies, which will be livestreamed.
For more information, including details on parking and accessibility, visit kenyon.edu/commencement.