Gray skies, sunny spirits


Commencement Day 2000 dawned to the sound of forecasters talking about drenching thunderstorms headed our way. But, they stayed away long enough for the Commencement procession to take place as scheduled, and when the rain did arrive midway through Seamus Heaneys speech, it was only a gentle shower.


judy.jpegThe gloomy weather failed to dampen the festive spirits of the graduates as they marched into Franklin Field in their academic regalia.

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Along with the usual expressions of relief and gratitude worn on the grads caps, there were also nods to days spent playing ultimate Frisbee and even a tip of the hat make that head to Pennsylvanias Quaker heritage.


Even on the stage, there was a bit of frivolity this year: When Law School Dean Michael Fitts presented his schools graduates for the conferring of degrees, he noted that they had performed over 200,000 hours of community service without once suing a candidate from the School of Medicine.


And Heaneys introduction as speaker prompted a loud cheer from a section of the graduates we presume they were English majors.

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There was even an up side to the wet weather: There was no need for the graduates to douse each other with the little bottles of spring water left beneath their seats. Mother Nature took care of that, and the crowd responded with umbrellas.


Photos by Candace diCarlo


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Originally published on June 1, 2000