Welcome, old grads; good luck, Class of 2000


Penn’s graduates of years past lead the way towards Franklin Field at last year’s Commencement.

Photo by Candace diCarlo

If everything seems just a bit quiet right now, don’t worry. It’s just that everyone’s resting up for tomorrow when the biggest celebration of the academic year begins.

The University’s 244th Commencement, on Monday, May 22, is the high point in a weekend that brings Penn’s worldwide community of alumni back to Philadelphia for a chance to reminisce, catch up with old friends, party and welcome Penn’s newest alumni to the fold.

But because this is an institution of higher education, learning opportunities are also part of the festivities. Some of Penn’s best and brightest professors, researchers and grads will offer an array of “Classes Without Quizzes” (formerly Alumni/Faculty Exchanges) on current topics of interest. The classes, listed under “Talks” in the day-by-day listings, are open to the general public, but public seating is limited for each class.

Other Alumni Weekend highlights include the annual Alumni Run/Walk, which steps off from 37th St. and Locust Walk on Saturday morning (see Saturday; May 20); a big block party and dance in the 3400 block of Moravian Court on Friday evening; an alumni town meeting with President Judith Rodin at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, and the annual Alumni Day Picnic and Parade of Classes Saturday starting at noon. Complete details about these and other Alumni Weekend events can be found at www.alumni.upenn.edu/AlumniWeekend on the Web.

But the main event is Commencement itself and the graduation ceremonies that surround it. Here’s the rundown on this year’s graduation activities:

Sunday, May 21


BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM: An interfaith program featuring music, readings, prayers and guest speaker, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III. 3 to 4 p.m. in Blanche Levy Park, College Green, Locust Walk between 34th and 36th streets; half-hour concert at 2:15 p.m. precedes program (rain time: 4 to 5 p.m. at the Palestra, 33rd St. below Walnut).


WHARTON UNDERGRADUATE/EVENING: 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Franklin Field, 33rd and Spruce streets; reception in the Steinberg-Dietrich Hall atrium, 3620 Locust Walk, follows ceremony.

MEDICINE: Speaker: Jordan J. Cohen, M.D., president, Association of American Medical Colleges. 10 a.m. to noon in Irvine Auditorium, 34th and Spruce streets; reception in the Biomedical Research Building II/III lobby and plaza, 421 Curie Blvd., follows ceremony.

WHARTON GRADUATE: Speaker: The Hon. Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury. 1 to 3:30 p.m. in Franklin Field; reception in Lehman Brothers Quadrangle and Vance Hall, 37th and Spruce streets, follows ceremony.

ENGINEERING DOCTORAL: Speaker: Ruzena Bajcsy, Ph.D., professor of computer and information science and assistant director of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering of the National Science Foundation. 5 to 6 p.m. in Harrison Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania Museum, 33rd and Spruce streets; reception in the Museum’s Mosaic Room and gardens follows ceremony.

WHARTON DOCTORAL: Ceremony and reception: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Upper Egyptian Gallery and Chinese Rotunda, University of Pennsylvania Museum.

COLLEGE: Speaker: Andrea Mitchell (CW’67), chief foreign affairs correspondent, NBC News.
7 to 9 p.m. at Franklin Field.

Monday, May 22


COMMENCEMENT: Speaker: Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning poet. 10:15 a.m. in Franklin Field. Gates open for guest seating at 8:30 a.m.; procession begins in Hamilton Village (Superblock, 39th St. and Locust Walk) at 8:45 a.m.


BIOMEDICAL GRADUATE STUDIES: Ceremony and reception immediately following Commencement in the Biomedical Research Building II/III auditorium and lobby.

COLLEGE OF GENERAL STUDIES: Ceremony and reception immediately following Commencement in Class of 1952 Plaza, 36th St. and Woodland Walk (across from Logan Hall).

FELS CENTER OF GOVERNMENT: Ceremony and reception: 12:30 p.m. in the Terrace Room, Logan Hall, 249 S. 36th St.

GRADUATE ARTS & SCIENCES: Speaker: Susan Stewart, Ph.D., Donald T. Regan Professor of English. 1 p.m. in Hamilton Village; reception in Class of 1920 Commons, 3800 Locust Walk, follows ceremony.

DENTAL: Speaker: Stephen A. Cooper, D.M.D., Ph.D. (D’71), member, School of Dental Medicine Board of Overseers. 1 to 3 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium; reception at 3:30 p.m. at the Penn Tower Hotel, 34th St. and Civic Center Blvd.

ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE/MASTER’S: 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Palestra; reception on the west lawn of the Towne Building, 220 S. 33rd St., follows ceremony (rain location: inside Towne).

FINE ARTS: Speaker: A. Eugene Kohn, FAIA, RIBA, JIA (Ar’53,GAr’57), principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox. 1:30 p.m. at Furness Plaza, 220 S. 34th St. (rain location: Room B-1, Meyerson Hall, 34th and Walnut streets); picnic lunch immediately following Commencement at Meyerson Hall Plaza precedes ceremony.

LAW: Speakers: Seth P. Waxman, Solicitor General of the United States, and Janet F. Stotland, Education Law Center. 2 to 4 p.m. at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets; reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Law School, 3401 Sansom St.

SOCIAL WORK: Speaker: Lynn C. Swann, national spokesperson for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. 2 to 4 p.m. in Harrison Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania Museum; reception in the Museum’s Chinese Rotunda follows ceremony.

ANNENBERG: Speaker: Michael Moore, award-winning documentary film-maker and producer (“Roger and Me,” “TV Nation”). 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 110, Annenberg School for Communication, 3620 Walnut St.; reception in Annenberg School lobby follows ceremony.

EDUCATION: Speaker, Kati Haycock, Director, Education Trust. 2:30 p.m. at First District Plaza, 3801 Market St.; reception immediately following Commencement in the GSE plaza, 37th and Walnut streets, precedes ceremony.

VETERINARY MEDICINE: Speaker: Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., Director, Center for Bioethics. 2:30 to 4:30 in Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St.; reception in the Annenberg Center plaza immediately follows ceremony.

NURSING: Speaker: Rebecca Rimel, president and CEO, The Pew Charitable Trusts. 7 to 9 p.m. at First District Plaza; reception immediately following Commencement at the Nursing Education Building plaza, 420 Guardian Dr. (rain location: NEB street-level atrium).

Originally published on May 18, 2000