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Skidmore College

Commencement on horizon for Class of 2014

May 6, 2014
Peter McCarthy by Charlie Samuels
Peter McCarthy (Charlie Samuels photo)

The largest class in Skidmore College history—the 712 members of the Class of 2014—will be recognized at the college’s 103rd Commencement on Saturday, May 17, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The ceremony begins at 10:40 a.m.

Four students will receive the degree of master of arts in liberal studies. Two distinguished individuals—evolutionary biologist and author Neil Shubin, host of this spring’s PBS miniseries Your Inner Fish, and Skidmore alumna Janet Lucas Whitman, a trustee emerita of the college—will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony. Each will deliver brief remarks to the class.

Following Skidmore tradition, a faculty member selected by the graduates will deliver the commencement address. This year’s speaker is Peter McCarthy, a member of Skidmore’s Class of 1983 who is field coordinator of the Skidmore Social Work Program and a member of the social work faculty. Also addressing the class will be Linda Toohey, chair of the board of trustees, Xavier Hatten, president of the Class of 2014, and Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach.

Neil Shubin
Neil Shubin

Shubin is the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish:  A Journey Through the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Pantheon), which was the summer reading for Skidmore’s Class of 2014 and the foundation for a miniseries broadcast in April on PBS. The book tells of the discovery of the fossil Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old “fish with hands,” a transitional species that offers profound insights into the development of the human body. On TV Shubin shared a basic finding of his work:  “Every reptile, bird, and mammal alive today is descended from ancient fish, and that includes us.”

When Shubin joins the graduates later this month it will mark a return to the Skidmore community, as he addressed the class in the fall of 2010 during their first month of college.

Whitman is a devoted Skidmore alumna who has been deeply engaged with the college since her student days. A member of the class

Janet Lucas Whitman ’59 by Charlie Samuels
Janet Lucas Whitman ’59 (Charlie Samuels

of 1959, she served as president of her freshman class and since then has volunteered in a number of capacities, including as 25th reunion volunteer and chair of the Friends of the Tang Museum. Her family established the Whitman Family Prize in Art History, which is awarded annually to an outstanding art history student. She was elected to the college’s board of trustees in 1994 and was board chair from 2008 until she retired in 2012.

Whitman served two four-year terms as mayor of her hometown of Summit, N.J., where she was instrumental in raising funds for a new city hall and for renovations to the public library.

Click here for details on Commencement Weekend.

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