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Unique Commencement Highlights Classes of 2022 and 2020

Two people hug in cap and gowns

On Sunday, May 22, Swarthmore College will hold its 150th Commencement ceremony, one that is unlike any other in the College's long history.

The approximately 430 undergraduates in the Class of 2022 will receive degrees at the ceremony on Mertz Lawn and will be joined by approximately 200 members of the Class of 2020 whose in-person ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are all eager to gather for this momentous occasion in our students’ lives and in the life of the College," says President Valerie Smith. "I am grateful to the members of the Class of 2020 for their input that helped lead to this decision and to the senior class officers of the Class of 2022 for their enthusiastic support of this idea. This spirit of unity is yet another reminder of our community’s graciousness and generosity."

During the ceremony, President Smith will award four honorary degrees: a Doctor of Laws to immigration law scholar T. Alexander Aleinikoff ‘74, a Doctor of Arts to documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry '92, a Doctor of Science to Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green '92, and a Doctor of Arts to ballet dancer Virginia Johnson.

The student speaker at Commencement will be Anatole Shukla '22, an economics and linguistics and Russian language special major from Fort Wayne, Ind. On the Friday prior to graduation, Last Collection will feature student speaker Tolulope Banjo, a medical anthropology special major from Newark, Del., and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Black Studies Nina Johnson.

While the two classes will celebrate at a joint commencement ceremony, the Class of 2020 will hold its own Last Collection ceremony on the Saturday prior to Commencement. Students speakers from the Class of 2020 for both the commencement ceremony and Last Collection will be determined at a later date.

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