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Skidmore College

Commencement 2011

At 100th commencement, College awards degrees to 652

A week of gloomy skies yielded to almost unequivocal sunshine on May 21 as Skidmore College, observing its 100th commencement ceremony, awarded degrees to 652 members of the Class of 2011 and marked the closing of University Without Walls, the liberal arts degree-completion program that Skidmore founded in 1971 as an experiment in non-traditional education.

Thirty of the seniors who received bachelor's degrees earned them through UWW, which since its first commencement in 1975 has awarded degrees to more than 1,500 students. The College also awarded an honorary degree to a 2001 UWW graduate: Colin E. Greene, principal of the largest secondary school in the Caribbean island of Antigua, member of the board of Education International, and leader for equitable access to quality education in developing countries.

Graduates at Commencement 2011"Our UWW students brought to their liberal arts education a rich tapestry of life experiences, they were well-positioned to appreciate the value of what they learned, and in the process they transformed both their own lives and some portion of the world," said President Philip A. Glotzbach. "We salute the UWW graduates with us here today, and with them all the UWW graduates from times past."'

The College awarded masters of arts in liberal studies degrees to ten students. Others recognized with honorary degrees were James M. McPherson, the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus at Princeton University, and greatest living scholar of the American Civil War, and Anne Bogart, American theater director, co-founder and artistic director of the SITI Company.

"You graduates are the recipients of a great gift – you have been given the opportunity to spend four years sampling the accumulated wisdom of human kind, the best of what our species has learned over seven millennia of recorded history," President Glotzbach told the Class of 2011. "As you go forward, please continue to broaden and deepen your liberal education; you are by no means finished with this process. But as you do, please also find in yourself the courage necessary to take advantage of those everyday moments that occur in all of our lives to prove that you understand – and can put to use – just what these four years have been all about." 

In keeping with a tradition that dates back to 1982, the Schenectady Pipe Band led the academic procession into the main hall of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which was festooned with a large "100th Commencement" banner. In keeping with a newer tradition established by the Class of 2010, the graduating seniors stood up and briefly danced after Alexandra Stark and Jared Greenbaum announced the senior class gift. (This year's song was the Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout". Last year's was "Shout" by the Isley Brothers.)

In the 100-year history of Skidmore commencements, this was the first to be streamed live on the Web. About 200 family members and friends tuned in, according to Media Services.