Commencement 2009: President Alfred H. Bloom
At Swarthmore's 137th commencement on May 31, 2009, President Alfred H. Bloom awarded honorary degrees to Mary Schmidt Campbell '69, dean of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and professor and chair of art and public policy, and James C. Hormel '55, a philanthropist devoted to social justice and human rights and the first openly gay ambassador in U.S. history. Bloom himself received an honorary degree on the occasion of his departure from the College after 18 years as president. The senior speaker, as voted by his classmates, was Sonny Sidhu '09. Before receiving their degrees, candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in engineering surprised the audience and their classmates with red confetti, the unfurling of a pirate flag, and a figure that mysteriously self-inflated. More Commencement 2009.