The many days and months of studying, writing papers and working on projects are over, and now the celebrating has begun. Six thousand graduates received their degrees from the University of Pennsylvania on Monday, May 17, at Franklin Field. The Honorable Jon M. Huntsman Jr., U.S. ambassador to China, delivered the Commencement address. Click here to see a slideshow and click here to watch a video of Commencement day events.
“This is a call to be bold and courageous in facing the unknown. Let your reach exceed your grasp, enough to stretch your talents and make them, and you, expand," Penn President Amy Gutmann told the graduates. “Your Penn education has cultivated in you the courage to lead yourself and others—not in certain directions, not with perfect, pre-ordained answers—but in bold, creatively crafted and life-transforming directions.”
Commencement speaker Huntsman, who graduated from Penn in 1987, served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1996 through 2000. His family has been a strong supporter of the University, endowing the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Jon M. Huntsman Hall at the Wharton School is named for the ambassador’s father, also a Penn alumnus.
“Our system requires the infusion of new thinking, driven by a fresh generation of innovators, leaders, risk-takers, entrepreneurs, scientists, community activists and plain old citizens—that’s you,” Huntsman said in his address. “The generations before you have risen to their challenges. I trust the same will be said of yours.”
At the Commencement ceremony, the University bestowed six additional honorary degrees to: observational astronomer Sandra M. Faber; medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey; humanitarian philanthropist and author Greg Mortenson; Penn Medicine Professor Emeritus Peter Nowell; and former Vice Chairman of T. Rowe Price Group Inc. James Riepe.
The gates to Franklin Field opened at 8:30 a.m., and the traditional procession of graduates down Locust Walk began at approximately 9 a.m. The ceremony began at 10:15 a.m. For more information and a full list of individual school ceremonies, visit
Originally published on May 17, 2010