by Ama Debrah
Barnard’s academic year finally came to a close with Commencement 2013 on Sunday. Although the weather was dreary, spirits were high as the family and friends of the class of 2013 slowly filed into their seats at Radio City Music Hall. The program was delayed as complications somehow lead to the procession taking over forty minutes, but the ceremony eventually began with opening remarks from President Spar, Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Linda Zhang, Senior Class President. These addresses were followed by remarks from Jung Hee Hyun, SGA President, who was also the recipient of the Frank Gilbert Bryson Prize for excellence in contribution to the senior class. Lauren Hancock and Jennie Ostendorf, co-chairs of the Senior Fund, then announced that the senior class had raised $27,000 for sustainability initiative with 68% of senior class participation, the highest level of participation in three years.
After some eloquent academic reflections by Natalia Quintero, it was time for Banrard’s Medals of Distinctions to be given. Medals were presented to Jimmie Briggs, journalist and founder of the Man Up Campaign, and Elizabeth Diller, architect and founding principal of Diller Scofield + Renfro. The high point of the medal presentation was when Anna Quindlen hugged an obviously excited and nervous Lena Dunham who afterwards flashed a double thumbs up at the crowd. After President Spar presented the Medal of Distinction to Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Gbowee gave an excellent commencement address urging the soon-to-be graduates to come out from the shadows and take on the world.
Though it had a rocky start, Commencement 2013 was a memorable event that showcased the talents and bright futures of our newest graduates. Congrats class of 2013!
Ama Debrah is a junior at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Photographs courtesy of Ayelet Pearl Photography.