Penn honors Class of 2009 with 253rd Commencement

Commencement procession

On Monday, May 18, Penn will hold its 253rd Commencement in which roughly 6,000 students in the Class of 2009 will proudly receive their degrees.

For the 23rd consecutive year, the ceremony will be held at the storied Franklin Field, in front of thousands of friends and family members, fellow students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive officer of Google, will deliver the Commencement Address at the University-wide ceremonies that begin at 10 a.m. He will also receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Additional honorary degree recipients include: Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of California-based Patagonia Inc.; George Crumb, composer and Penn professor emeritus; Yvonne Mokgoro, a judge with the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Pretoria; Susan Solomon, a leader in atmospheric science; and Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate.

Chouinard will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters; Crumb, an honorary doctor of music; Solomon, an honorary doctor of science; and Mokgoro and Yunus, an honorary doctor of laws.

The ceremony is held rain or shine. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. The procession across campus steps off at 9 a.m. Alumni leaders, including representatives from the Old Guard through the Class of 2008, will line Locust Walk, holding flags and forming an honor guard as the candidates for graduation pass through. Members of the classes of 1959 and 1984 will follow the alumni representatives in the procession.

For more information on all Commencement events, including a schedule of school ceremonies, call 215-573-GRAD or visit Follow Penn’s Commencement on Twitter at

Originally published on May 14, 2009