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Commencement Overview

Details about this weekend


Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

With 6,000 students graduating and 20,000 guests expected at BU’s 137th Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 16, the University will be humming with activity this weekend. Events are spread over three days, with some convocations taking place on Friday and Saturday.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Class of 1970. That year, many universities, including BU, canceled their undergraduate Commencement ceremonies because of nationwide antiwar protests. This weekend, approximately 225 alums and their families will return to BU for the graduation they never had. Registration for many of these events has closed, but you can still check out a full listing here.

The main Commencement events, of course, take place on Sunday. The Baccalaureate Service, at Marsh Chapel, starts at 11 a.m., and Commencement, at Nickerson Field, is at 1 p.m.

Web registration for the weekend’s events has ended. If you still need to purchase tickets, call Events & Conferences at 617-353-2248.

Before the weekend starts, students should pick up caps and gowns at Barnes & Noble at BU. Candidates for bachelor’s or master’s degrees must purchase their gowns, but doctoral candidates may rent theirs.

Most parking facilities will be open, but it is recommended that guests use shuttle buses because traffic will be heavy. Guests with disabilities can request a parking permit that allows convenient parking. The MBTA is another option.

Following is a rundown of the weekend’s activities.

Friday, May 14

Senior Champagne Reception
Friends, family, deans, and administrators will celebrate at the annual champagne reception in honor of the Class of 2010. Festivities begin at 4 p.m., first floor of the GSU, and end at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15.

18th Annual Comedy Night
Headlining this 90-minute show is Greg Fitzsimmons (CGS’87, CAS’89), who has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the CGS auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is $20.

Saturday, May 15

Riverboat Cruises on the Charles River
Boats leave from the BU Sailing Pavilion every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., rain or shine. To get to the pavilion, take the Marsh Chapel Footbridge, near the BU Beach, to the Esplanade. Turn left and walk toward the BU Bridge. This event is not accessible for the disabled. Admission is $5.

BU Beach Bash
The BU Beach will come alive, rain or shine, at noon, with live music, face-painting, BU giveaways, and more. Food concessions will be available.

Through the Lens: Peter Simon (COM’70) and Your Generation
Photojournalist, author, and music historian Peter Simon presents his photographic work and discusses the life and culture of the Class of 1970 generation. The presentation will include his work as photo editor of the BU News, as well as photos from his book I and Eye and other shots of major figures, events, locations, and lifestyles over the past 40 years. The presentation takes place in the College of Communication Auditorium, 640 Commonwealth Ave. It is free and open to the public.

Celebration ’10
Celebrate with classmates and families at a buffet featuring salad, pasta, entrées, and desserts. Beer, wine, and soft drinks are included; cash premium bar service will be available. Two seatings are offered: 5 p.m. (those attending the Pops later in the evening will want this seating) and 8 p.m. Both seatings are at the 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is free for children under 3, $15 for children ages 3-12, and $30 for adults.

96th Annual BU Night at the Pops
The concert, at 8 p.m. at Boston’s Symphony Hall, is one of the University’s oldest traditions. Transportation is provided to and from campus starting at 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 16

The all-faith Baccalaureate Service is at 11 a.m. in Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave. Information about other worship services is available here.

The all-University Commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. Except for disabled guests, there is no reserved seating for the friends and families of graduating students.

Schools and colleges will hold individual convocations at various times and locations throughout the weekend.

Those who can’t be at Nickerson Field can view the entire Commencement ceremony live via webcast or listen to the ceremony on Boston University’s NPR station, WBUR 90.9FM.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Wafaa El-Sadr, director of theInternational Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, of the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiologic Research, and of the Global Health Initiative, all at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, will speak at the Baccalaureate Service and receive an honorary Doctor of Science at the all-University Commencement ceremony.

Honorary degrees will also be presented at the all-University Commencement ceremony to Edward Albee, playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner; William T. Coleman, Jr., senior partner and senior counselor in the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers, who served under six U.S. presidents; and Osamu Shimomura, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry and a BU School of Medicine professor emeritus.

Follow Commencement coverage here.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @amlaskow.


One Comment on Commencement Overview

  • Supercar Club on 05.13.2010 at 5:14 am

    Anniversary- good luck!

    20,000 guests? That’s a fair number! I hope the anniversary is a success. It must be brilliant to see old friends 40 years later!

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