Commencement at Concord Academy marks the end of the academic year, the celebration of the senior class, and the coming together of students, faculty, families, and friends. Annual Commencement events include a luncheon for international students and their families, a dinner for faculty and the senior class and their families, a Baccalaureate service during which graduating seniors share music, stories, and memories with their classmates and families, and Commencement exercises on the Chapel Lawn.
The 2015 Baccalaureate will take place on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel. The 2015 Commencement will take place on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. on the Chapel Lawn.
The Commencement speaker this year will be Sarah Koenig ’86, executive producer and host of Serial, the most popular podcast in history. A spinoff from the public-radio program This American Life, where Koenig has been a producer for 11 years, Serial is a reinvestigation of a 1999 murder in Baltimore, Md., in which the convicted murderer, now serving a life sentence, has maintained his innocence. The series debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes charts and became the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads in the history of iTunes. Saturday Night Live created a parody of the show, and The New Yorker called it “the podcast we’ve been waiting for.”
Koenig graduated from Concord Academy and the University of Chicago. She began her career in journalism at The East Hampton Star. She has worked at ABC News, The New York Times, The Concord Monitor, and The Baltimore Sun. In 2006, an episode she produced for This American Life, entitled “Habeas Schmabeas,” was awarded the Peabody Award.
Past Commencement speakers include Philippe Petit, Reverend Kim Crawford Harvie, Henry Lewis Gates, geneticist Eric Lander, former Academic Dean Patricia C. Hager; English teacher and former Dean of Faculty Frederic “Sandy” Stott; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes; Anna Quindlen; Christopher Lydon; Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Queen Noor of Jordan ’69; Dr. Cornel West; and former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
2015 Commencement and Baccalaureate Notes
Commencement will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 29, 2015. All underclassmen are required to attend and should arrive at the Quad by 9:15 a.m.
Please note that seats are reserved for all underclass students. Underclass students may depart for the summer after the ceremony (which concludes about 12 noon) but are encouraged to attend the reception for all on the Quad immediately following Commencement which concludes about 1:00 p.m. Student houses will close at 4:00 p.m.
Senior parents have received a letter from Head of School Rick Hardy, as well as a schedule for Thursday evening and Friday morning events. Each senior will receive five invitations to distribute, and a few more will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students should see Nancy Howard or David Rost in person if they need more than the five allocated. Commencement is not a ticketed event. Additional guests of graduating seniors are welcome to attend even if the school runs out of printed invitations. Families needing accommodations for relatives in wheelchairs or with walkers, please contact Suzanne Parry.
Baccalaureate will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28. The senior class will gather for the Baccalaureate service, during which some will share music, poetry, stories, and memories with classmates and their families. The preceding reception, dinner, and service itself are for seniors and their families, as well as CA faculty and staff. A few days before, each senior will receive three Baccalaureate tickets for Chapel seats, which will be good only until 7:20 p.m., after which general seating will be available. There also will be seating under the tent on the Chapel Lawn and, in case of severe weather, the Performing Arts Center will be available. The alternate location will have a sound system and video monitor.
Dress for Baccalaureate is Vespers dress – coat and tie, dress, or blouse and skirt. Dress for Commencement is also Vespers dress, and dresses, skirts, and pantsuits worn for Commencement should be white or off-white.
Parents of underclass students are welcome to attend the Commencement ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on Friday on the Chapel Lawn, although seating priority is, of course, given to the families of graduating seniors.
Operations staff will be directing cars for parking on campus. There will be signs indicating handicapped access. If you or a relative would appreciate a ride in a golf cart to the Commencement tent, please drive to the Aloian Circle. CA staff will be on hand to escort those who need handicap accessible access to the tent. Because of anticipated congestion, we ask that day parents (who are not attending Commencement) arrange to pick up their children at other locations in Concord, rather than the front circle (Aloian Circle). Suggestions include the parking lot on Keyes Road behind Middlesex Savings Bank, the parking lot on the far side of the Concord Free Public Library, or the train parking lots on Thoreau Street. Thank you for your cooperation on a very busy day.