Commencement ceremony concludes the academic year

students at commencement

The University of the South's 2012-13 academic year came to a close with three ceremonies marking graduation weekend on the Mountain. A Convocation for the Conferring of Degrees was held Friday, May 10, to recognize the 42 students who completed their studies at The School of Theology. The preacher for this year’s commencement service was Bishop Wright from the Diocese of Atlanta. See full coverage of The School of Theology events here.

The second of three ceremonies marking commencement weekend began Saturday morning as the 331 members of the College class of 2013 followed the University faculty into the Baccalaureate Service in All Saints’ Chapel.

Four honorary degrees were presented during the service to David Brooks, Dr. David H. Charlton, Jonathan T. Howe, and Dr. Lacy H. Hunt II, C’64. Brooks gave the Baccalaureate address.  More information about the recipients is here.

Academic processions and the sound of bells marked the beginning and the conclusion of Sunday’s Commencement ceremony. The procession of graduating seniors was led by valedictorian Jenny Liles and salutatorian Tamás Kubik into All Saints’ Chapel for the final Convocation of the academic year as those gathered joined in singing “For All the Saints.”

Tamás Kubik (English) of Budapest, Hungary, gave the traditional salutatory in Latin, addressing the vice-chancellor, faculty, and the audience—whom he welcomed in Hungarian as well—before concluding with the University motto “Ecce Quam Bonum.” Jonathan Brenes Salazar (Environmental Studies: Policy), of Monteverde, Costa Rica, was recognized with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion for character, leadership, and service to the University and the Sewanee community, receiving long applause from his classmates.

See the complete list of awards and prizes here.



Jenny Liles used Vice-Chancellor John McCardell’s quoting of W.H. Auden (“…though one cannot always/ Remember exactly why one has been happy,/ There is no forgetting that one was.”) to remind her classmates of why they have been happy during their years at Sewanee. The English and Biology double major from Little Rock, Ark., spoke of the sense of community on the Mountain, of learning from professors to expect more from themselves, and of the relationships that show her class that they are not alone. By continuing to embrace the ideals of the University and carrying those values forward, then “wherever we land, wherever we live, wherever we love, we will know that we are not alone. We are Sewanee, and that makes us family." Read Liles's address here.

The valedictory oration was just the start of a busy day for Liles. She and other senior members of the women’s tennis team were whisked to the Sewanee airport immediately following Commencement, in order to reach Atlanta in time for today’s contest with Emory University in the third round of the NCAA tennis tournament. See video highlights of the weekend whirlwind here.

The University’s School of Letters, which enrolled its first summer master’s degree students in 2006 and granted its first degree in 2009, this year granted eight Master of Fine Arts degrees, and three Master of Arts degrees.

The University awarded 331 baccalaureate degrees, and before reading the University's charge to the "chosen and now honored youths," Vice-Chancellor McCardell spoke to the graduates.

McCardell spoke of being surrounded by history, and saints, in All Saints’ Chapel and of the obligations gained in joining the long line of Sewanee’s saints. He quoted Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses—“Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'/Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades/Forever and forever when I move”—and told the graduates, "We send you on your way today through just such an arch, on one side of which is memory, on the other, hope." McCardell left the graduates with his prayer that “the education you have received here and the experience here that set you on your life’s course will, in the words of our beloved baptismal liturgy, mark you as one of Sewanee’s own forever.” Read McCardell's remarks here.

The final event in an eventful graduation weekend came to a close with the singing of Alma Mater and the bells of the Leonidas Polk Memorial Carillon ringing down on the faculty and guests lining the sidewalks outside the Chapel, allowing the new graduates of the Class of 2013 to pass through and receive applause, cheers and embraces. The graduates and their families then mingled in brilliant sunshine at the traditional picnic on the Quadrangle. Photos from the weekend are here and selected videos are here.

In a separate ceremony following Saturday’s Baccalaureate Service, 15 seniors were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. Election to Phi Beta Kappa is perhaps the most prized honor a college student can receive. The following students join the 12 Sewanee seniors and six juniors who were elected in April:

Shennandoah Virginia Britten, Fukuoka, Japan
Alison Rae Brown, Columbus, N.C.
Sabria Farheen, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mariya Z. Georgieva, Haskovo, Bulgaria
Peter Maxwell Kennedy, Memphis, Tenn.
Trey Hugh Knighton, Arab, Ala.
Elizabeth Mercer McClendon, Germantown, Tenn.
Hanna Lane Miller, Collins, Miss.
Sara Ellen Neil, Decatur, Ala.
Pacifique Niwenshuti, South Province, Rwanda
Stella Louise Pfau, Birmingham, Ala.
Thomas Edward Sanders, Brentwood, Tenn.
George Malcolm Taylor, Birmingham, Ala.
William Barrett Watson, Sherman, Tex.
Marcela Caroline Weber, Knoxville, Tenn.

View all stories in Academics 


Listing of both today’s and tomorrow’s events at Sewanee: The University of the South.
Chemistry Department Seminar Series
At the SUT: Guardians of the Galaxy
Sewanee Symphony and Jazz Ensemble present Halloween Concert
Cross Country: SAA Championships
Field Hockey: Newberry
Women’s Soccer: Berry
At the SUT: Guardians of the Galaxy
Men’s Soccer: Berry
Attacca String Quartet in concert
At the SUT: Guardians of the Galaxy