Kenyon College set to celebrate 189th Commencement

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GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College celebrates more than 400 members of the Class of 2017 at its 189th Commencement ( ceremony Saturday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m.

The ceremony will be held on the lawn between two of the College’s oldest academic buildings, Ascension Hall and Samuel Mather Hall. Faculty members and students will proceed to the ceremony along Kenyon’s iconic Middle Path.

University of Texas Head Basketball Coach Shaka Smart, a 1999 graduate of Kenyon, will deliver the Commencement address. Smart rose to fame by leading the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams to an unexpected Final Four appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. In 2015, Smart moved to Austin to coach the Texas Longhorns.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to participate in the most important day of the year at a place that was incredibly important in helping me become who I am,” Smart said. “It also allows me the chance to return to be around some of the people who played an instrumental role in shaping my life.”

During his distinguished career on the Lords basketball team, Smart became the program’s career leader in assists (542). In his senior season, he was recognized as the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was selected as a member of the USA Today All-USA Academic Team.

Smart, who majored in history at Kenyon and graduated magna cum laude with high honors, will receive an honorary doctorate from the College. Kenyon College President Sean Decatur characterized Smart as “not only a brilliant coach, but a true advocate for the value of the liberal arts and the importance of the classroom experience for student athletes.”

Also receiving honorary doctorates are four retiring faculty members who have more than 150 combined years of service to the College: Professor of Biology Kathryn L. Edwards, Professor of Political Science John M. Elliott, Professor of Spanish Linda D. Metzler and Professor of Japanese Hideo Tomita.

On Friday, May 19, at 1:30 p.m. on Samuel Mather lawn, the College celebrates its Baccalaureate service, which features readings of academic and spiritual texts chosen and presented by a few select seniors. Associate Provost Ivonne M. García, associate professor of English, will give this year’s Baccalaureate address. Following the service, graduating students will gather on the steps of Rosse Hall for the Senior Sing, a beloved Kenyon tradition.

In the case of inclement weather, events will be held at the Kenyon Athletic Center, 221 Duff St. Tickets are not required for the Baccalaureate or Commencement ceremonies, which will be livestreamed ( . Members of the media interested in attending Commencement should contact Director of News Media Relations at ( or 740-427-5592.