April 23, 2020
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Release: May 13, 2019
GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College will celebrate more than 400 members of the Class of 2019 at its 191st Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m.
The ceremony is scheduled to be held on the lawn between two of the College’s oldest academic buildings, Ascension Hall and Samuel Mather Hall. Faculty members and students will proceed to the ceremony along Kenyon’s iconic Middle Path.
Internationally acclaimed musician and educator Wynton Marsalis will deliver the Commencement address. Marsalis is the winner of nine Grammy Awards and was the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Through his prolific touring, recording of albums, and advocacy of the arts, Marsalis inspired generations to explore the genre of jazz and embrace the role of the arts in America’s culture. In 1987, Marsalis co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), enlivening and expanding a global community for jazz. His work as a cultural ambassador continued with the creation of the 1995 PBS program “Marsalis on Music,” as well as a National Public Radio series that same year titled “Making the Music,” which he created with public radio legend Murray Horwitz, a 1970 Kenyon graduate. Both of these broadcast series won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.
Marsalis has produced more than 80 records, which have sold more than seven million copies worldwide, and has toured on six continents. In 1983, at age 22, he won his first Grammy Awards, becoming the only artist ever to win for both jazz and classical records in the same year — repeating the feat in 1984. In 1997, his oratorio “Blood on the Fields” won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Marsalis was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 2005 and the National Humanities Medal in 2015. In the fall of 2009, Marsalis received one of France’s highest distinctions, the insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, for his extraordinary contributions to American culture. He will receive an honorary doctorate in arts from Kenyon.
Also receiving honorary doctorates, these in humane letters, are two retiring faculty members: Professor of Asian History Ruth Dunnell and Miriam Dean-Otting, the Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies and a 1974 Kenyon graduate.
The College will precede its Commencement celebration with a Baccalaureate service Friday, May 17, at 1:30 p.m. on Samuel Mather lawn. The service features readings of academic and spiritual texts chosen and presented by a diverse group of seniors. Professor of Mathematics Judy Holdener will give this year’s Baccalaureate address. Following the service, graduating seniors will gather on the steps of Rosse Hall for the Senior Sing, a beloved Kenyon tradition.
In the case of inclement weather, events will be held at the Kenyon Athletic Center, 221 Duff St. Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate or Commencement ceremonies, which will be livestreamed. Members of the media interested in attending Commencement should contact Director of News Media Relations Mary Keister at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including details on parking and accessibility, visit kenyon.edu/commencement.