Institutional News

Bennington College Celebrated its 88th Commencement on Saturday

On Saturday, June 3, 152 members of Bennington College’s Class of 2023 gathered, along with their family members and friends, faculty, and leadership, under a large tent on a green expanse of lawn at the southern end of campus to receive their degrees. 

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Provost Dr. Maurice Hall
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President Laura Walker
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Class of 2023 graduates

The institution conferred four master’s degrees, one each in dance and music and two in public action, and 148 bachelor’s degrees. Undergraduate students had studied Cultural Studies and Languages; Dance; Drama; Environmental Studies; Literature; Music; Science & Mathematics; Society, Culture & Thought; and Visual Arts. 

Music Faculty Members Joseph Alpar and Michael Wimberly and Music Fellow Chris Rose began the event with a remix of Former Music Faculty Louis Calabro’s “Ceremonial March.” President Laura Walker led the procession, followed by Nicholas Stephens ’77, the chair of the Board of Trustees. 

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From left: Joseph Alpar, Michael Wimberly, and Chris Rose
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Graduates and their guests gather on Commons lawn
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Student speaker Gianna Rodriguez '23

After acknowledging the families of graduates and Bennington College’s staff, Faculty Speaker Dr. Vanessa Lyon praised the graduates themselves. 

“I want to acknowledge that the members of the class of 2023, as few others before you, have catapulted yourselves over—if not dragged yourselves doggedly under—obstacle after obstacle in order to arrive at this profound and victorious moment on a pretty Vermont day in early June,” she said.

The class of 2023 Commencement Speaker was Playwright, screenwriter, and director Sofia Alvarez '07. She gave an inspiring, funny, and heartwarming speech about the ups and downs that accompany life after college. 

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Faculty speaker Dr. J. Vanessa Lyon
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Commencement speaker Sofia Alvarez '07
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Bennington College graduates

“The first year out of college is hard. There's no way around it,” Alvarez said. Referencing Bennington’s student-directed curriculum, she continued, “But I think it's less hard for us, as Bennington students, than for those who've had their entire academic careers laid out for them. There's both fear and comfort in the idea that no one else can figure this out for you.”  

Both Friday's Commencement speeches and Saturday’s Conferring of Degrees ceremonies are  available to watch on the College’s Commencement webpage.