Commencement features novelist Jonathan Franzen
Kenyon's 183rd Commencement kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on May 21 on Samuel Mather Lawn, with the Class of 2011 receiving their diplomas. Together with family and friends along with Kenyon faculty and staff, the graduates will hear an address by celebrated writer Jonathan Franzen, this year's Commencement speaker.
Franzen will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Philosopher and author Martha Nussbaum, who will also make remarks, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Franzen's most recent novel is the widely acclaimed Freedom (2010). He came to prominence with an earlier novel, The Corrections, which won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He is also the author of the novels Strong Motion (1992) and The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), as well as the nonfiction books The Discomfort Zone (2006) and How to Be Alone (2002).
The New York Times called Freedom "a masterpiece of American fiction" and "a new kind of novel that might break the suffocating grip of postmodernism." Time magazine featured Franzen on the cover of its August 23, 2010, issue, with the headline "Great American Novelist."
Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, where she also holds associate appointments in classics and political science. She taught previously at Harvard University and Brown University. She is the author of a number of books, including Cultivating Humanity (1997), Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (2004), and From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (2010). She was the founding president of the Human Development and Capability Association.
The Baccalaureate ceremony precedes Commencement, on May 20 at 1:30 p.m. on Samuel Mather Lawn. The senior class has chosen as its Baccalaureate speaker Jim Steen, the coach—and teacher, and mentor, and role model—who for more than three decades has made Kenyon swimming synonymous with excellence.
Under Steen, the men's and women's swim teams developed into the most successful program in college sports history. He led the Lords to twenty-nine of their thirty-one consecutive Division III national championships, and, before stepping down as the Ladies coach last year, he guided the women to twenty-one of their twenty-three national titles.
To learn more about the Commencement Weekend, visit www.kenyon.edu/commencement.xml.