Williams College Celebrates 218th Commencement

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 1, 2007 – Williams College President Morton Owen Schapiro conferred Bachelor of Arts degrees on 525 seniors at Commencement, Sunday, June 3, 2007. Eleven students in the History of Art Program and 23 fellows from the Center for Development Economics received master’s degrees.

The procession stepped off at 9:30 a.m. from the First-Year Quad, with the ceremony beginning at West College Lawn at 10 a.m. Berkshire Country Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano led the procession.

Three graduating seniors spoke. The highest-ranking student Priyanka Bangard, from Kolkata, India, delivered the Valedictory Address, “Culture Shock.” Alan R. Rodrigues, from Dresher, Penn., gave the Phi Beta Kappa Speech. His title is “Pause.” Auyon Mukharji from Prairie Village, Kan., chosen by his classmates as Class Speaker, took a light-hearted look at “What Just Happened?”. CBS news anchor Katie Couric gave the college’s Commencement Address, “Seven for ’07: Simple Lessons for a Complicated World.”

Sri Lanka Supreme Court Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane delivered the Baccalaureate Address on Saturday, June 2.

In addition to Ms. Couric and Ms. Tilakawardane, the honorary degree candidates were educator Douglas J. Bennet, economist Robert Engle, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and biologist Edward O. Wilson.

Messrs. Bennet and Engle and Mss. Tilakawardane and Couric received honorary Doctor of Law degrees. Messrs. Tyson and Wilson were awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees.

On Saturday, June 2, elected seniors were inducted into academic honor societies. Forty-three were elected to Phi Beta Kappa at the close of the senior year. Those students combined with the 26 inducted in September 2006 represent the top 12.5 percent of the class. Fifty-three seniors were elected to Sigma Xi, the national scientific honor society.