Maybe it's the venue - Franklin Field. Maybe it's the perfect spring weather. But Commencement, with its exuberance and feel of victory, seems a lot like the season opener at Veterans Stadium when the Phillies are actually winning.
At the 243rd Commencement, the wave swept across the sea of black-gowned graduates seated on the field, and cheers descended from the spectators in the bleachers.
The loudest cheer came when President Judith Rodin noted that during the tenure of Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone from 4,000 to 11,000.
No doubt their respect for the rising Dow inspired the students to hold back the beach balls while Rubin addressed them. But they let loose during the "Academic Festive Anthem" (composer Bruce Montgomery, lyricist Benjamin Franklin), which was played for the second year in a row by the oldest marching concert band in the country, the Allentown Band, founded in 1828. The "Anthem" also inspired the wave.
All photos by Candace diCarlo
But when the wave had stilled, the balls had stopped bouncing and the soap bubbles had burst, the exultant students swept off the field to seize their next victory.
- L.R.& S.S.
Originally published on May 27, 1999