This year, for the first time since it began in
1982, rain washed out the traditional commencement procession down
But the ceremony itself went off just about flawlessly. After some confusion as the grads hastily assembled outside Franklin Field, the assembled guests still got the full measure of pomp and circumstance.
The grads, then the dignitaries and faculty, crossed
Franklin Field to emerge in the center of the brand-new stage designed
for the event.
Beneath the sea of umbrellas, the usual smiles prevailed
through the conferring of honorary degrees and U.S. Senator John
McCains brief but inspiring speech. Then President Judith
Rodin officially welcomed the Class of 2001 into the company of
Penn alumni, school by school.
Afterwards, the soggy graduates expressed their
joy by tossing the towels used to dry off their seats into the air.
The wet Commencement followed a sunny Alumni Weekend, which included Elvis on stilts and alumni strutting and rolling their stuff with family in the annual Parade of Classes down Locust Walk.
Photos by Candace diCarlo and Daniel R. Burke
Originally published on May 31, 2001