Bestowing HonorsGAMBIER, Ohio (May 13, 2008) Kenyon's 180th Commencement ceremony features an acclaimed writer, an influential scholar, and a beloved professor, along with more than four hundred young men and women who will parade down Middle Path one last time before taking their diplomas—and their Kenyon education—out into the world.
The graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 17, starting at 10:30 a.m., on the lawn of Samuel Mather Hall.
In addition to presenting diplomas to graduating seniors, the College will confer honorary degrees on Anna Quindlen, the journalist and novelist; Denise Schmandt-Besserat, a scholar of the art and archaeology of the ancient Near East; and Professor of Drama Thomas Turgeon, who is retiring after a career of thirty-six years on the faculty. Quindlen will deliver the Commencement address.
A best-selling novelist as well as a journalist who currently writes "The Last Word" column for Newsweek, Quindlen previously wrote for the New York Times. She won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1992. A Kenyon parent, Quindlen also chairs the board of trustees of Barnard College.
Schmandt-Besserat has won wide recognition for her work on the origin of writing and counting. Her influential books How Writing Came About and Before Writing trace the emergence of cuneiform, the oldest-known form of writing, to a sophisticated counting system using clay tokens. In addition to scholarly publications, she has popularized her ideas in television programs.
Thomas Turgeon has been one of the pillars and guiding forces of the College's drama program, which has produced generations of accomplished professionals in the worlds of stage and screen by grounding students in fundamentals, and by keeping the focus on bringing plays to life before an audience. Students praise him as an inspiring teacher and superb director, and Kenyon audiences have enjoyed his occasional appearances as an actor in College productions. In addition, his translations of the plays of Marivaux and Molière have been produced both at Kenyon and elsewhere.