WHAT: Washington University’s 156th Commencement. The university will award 3,245 degrees to 3,089 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The university also will bestow honorary degrees on six individuals.
WHO: Anna Quindlen, a best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and social critic, will deliver the 2017 Commencement address. During the ceremony, Quindlen will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
The university’s five other honorary degree recipients and their degrees are:
- John W. Bachmann, a senior partner at Edward Jones who is credited with helping build the investment firm into one of America’s leading financial services institutions, doctor of laws;
- The Rev. Gary G. Braun, director of the Catholic Student Center at Washington University and considered the “heart and soul” of religious life on campus, doctor of humane letters;
- Thomas F. Frist Jr., MD, co-founder and chairman emeritus of HCA, the nation’s leading provider of health care services, doctor of humane letters;
- David L. Steward, chairman and co-founder of World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based award-winning technology integrator company, doctor of laws; and
- Virginia V. Weldon, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist, former Washington University School of Medicine administrator and first woman chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges, doctor of science.
WHERE: Brookings Quadrangle, which is directly west of Brookings Hall, the university’s main administration building that sits on a hill overlooking Forest Park. (In the event of severe weather, see note below.)
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 19, 2017
MEDIA RESERVED SEATING: News organizations sending a reporter to Commencement should call Sue Killenberg McGinn by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 18, to make arrangements for a reserved seat in the Quad. Mult boxes will be available at the seats and near the Beaumont Pavilion stage. The reserved media seats are in the Chancellor’s section, which is at the north end of the Quad on the east side of Beaumont Pavilion.
MEDIA PARKING: Reserved media parking is available near the south end of Brookings Hall. Take Forsyth Boulevard or Forest Park Parkway to Hoyt Drive; take Hoyt to south leg of the circle drive that leads up to Brookings Hall, where a parking attendant will direct you. Please show attendant a media ID.
HIGHLIGHTS: For the first time, Washington University will recognize its graduating veterans during the Commencement ceremony. Also, veterans will wear red, white and blue honor cords as part of their official regalia.
Veterans from the St. Louis region who are available onsite for interviews include: U.S. Army veteran Angela Peacock is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University College in Arts & Sciences and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She will serve as the University College student marshal at Commencement, an honor reserved for top student leaders. Peacock will continue her Washington University education at the Brown School, where she plans to study veteran issues. Peacock grew up in Ferguson and now resides in St. Charles. Read more about her here.
Marine veteran James Petersen is graduating with a masters of social work from the Brown School and is the outgoing president of WUVets, a student group devoted to serving student veterans. Under this leadership, WUVets won the Student Veterans of America Chapter of the Year Award and organized the region’s first Veterans Week in collaboration with students from Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Petersen grew up in Edwardsville and now resides in Florissant. Read more about him here.
LIVE TV BROADCASTS: TV stations that plan to shoot live from Brookings Quad should make arrangements with Liam Otten. Please call 314-935-8494 (office) on May 18 or 314-874-6331 (cell) on May 19. Trucks should be in place by 6 a.m.
SEVERE WEATHER PLAN: Commencement will be held outside rain or shine. However, in case of severe weather, the universitywide Commencement ceremony in Brookings Quadrangle will be canceled. If that happens, a ceremony for undergraduates only will move inside to the Athletic Complex Field House and begin at 8:30 a.m. The ceremonies for all graduate and professional degree candidates will be held at their schools’ individual recognition ceremonies.
If the severe weather schedule is necessary, media will be notified by 7 a.m. Friday.
For more information the morning of Commencement, call Sue Killenberg McGinn at 314-603-6008.