On a sun-splashed Commencement at Franklin & Marshall College, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg urged F&M’s Class of 2012 to live up to the spirit of independence and service embodied by the school’s namesakes: Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

“Take an idea–and then turn it on its head,” Bloomberg said in his Commencement address. “After all, if Ben Franklin had accepted the way things were, we might still be turning on the lights with a match…It may be lonely at times, it may make you unpopular at times, and it may be dangerous to your career. But independence lies at the heart of innovation, progress and pride. So the next time someone tells you why something can’t be done, or why something is the best idea or the worst idea, remember Ben Franklin and his spirit of independence.”

Bloomberg addressed 554 members of F&M’s Class of 2012 and several thousand guests on Hartman Green in the center of campus during the College’s 225th Commencement ceremony on May 12. Elected mayor in November 2001, Bloomberg spoke of a career in politics, business and philanthropy, encouraging members of the graduating class to make time for community service in their futures.

“The thrills that really stay with you forever—I’m sure many of you know—are the ones you get from giving back to your community,” Bloomberg said. “And as someone who is in the position to see up-close the real impact of public service by millions of New Yorkers, I can tell you that every minute of service helps in more ways than you can count.” Read more >

Faces of the Class of 2012 

From immersion in neuroscience and service work in South Africa to independent research and leadership in campus organizations, the graduating seniors of the Class of 2012 made their Franklin & Marshall experiences their own. These profiles provide a snapshot of the academic and extracurricular interests of F&M’s senior class—on the squash court, in the classroom, in health clinics overseas, and in countless other places on and off campus. The stories are only a few examples of how the Class of 2012 left its mark on Franklin & Marshall College.


Scott Rownd ’12: Choosing F&M ‘The Best Decision I Ever Made’

Scott Rownd says his time at F&M has been “like a cake with lots of different ingredients, all really crucial to the total experience.”  

Read More

Tanya Arora ’12: Research, Teamwork Highlight F&M Experience

Tanya Arora received honors for her work in the classroom and sportsmanship on the squash court.  

Read More

Ishmael Buckner ’12: Storming into Environmental and Public-Health Issues

Ishmael Buckner embarked on a host of environmental and public-health initiatives at F&M.  

Read More

Kevin Wojcik ’12: Finding a Home in the Liberal Arts Environment

Kevin Wojcik packed many experiences into his three years at F&M, from a double major in neuroscience and philosophy to his leadership of the EMS program.  

Read More

Elena López ’12: Digging into Student Life at F&M

Elena López had a wide-ranging undergraduate experience, from several international excursions to a study of artifacts buried near the main steps of Shadek-Fackenthal Library.  

Read More

Commencement 2012 Honorees 

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, well known for his government, business and philanthropic leadership, will deliver Franklin & Marshall College's Commencement address on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

During the 10 a.m. ceremony, F&M will bestow honorary degrees on Mayor Bloomberg and three other individuals who have excelled in their fields:

  • 1975 alumna Wanda M. Austin, president and CEO of The Aerospace Corp.;
  • Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in the field of virtual reality; and
  • Lynn Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and recipient of a 2007 MacArthur Fellowship, informally known as a "genius grant."

Michael R. Bloomberg 

Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th Mayor of the City of New York. He was first elected in November 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that claimed thousands of lives in the city. Since taking office, Mayor Bloomberg and his team have enacted policies that helped reduce crime by more than 30 percent, raised high school graduation rates by 37 percent, and added more than 700 acres of new parkland.

Mayor Bloomberg was born in Boston and raised in Medford, Mass. He received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He joined Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers in 1966 and, in 1981, launched financial news and information service Bloomberg LP. Today, it has more than 310,000 subscribers and employs more than 15,000 people worldwide.

Mayor Bloomberg has committed significant resources to philanthropic causes through Bloomberg Philanthropies, which works primarily to advance five areas globally: public health, the environment, government innovation, education and the arts. To date, he has donated more than $2 billion to a variety of causes and organizations.


Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist best known for his pioneering work in the field of virtual reality. He left gaming company Atari in 1985 to co-found VPL Research Inc., the first company to market virtual reality products. Sun Microsystems acquired VPL in 1999.

Lanier was chief scientist of Advanced Network and Services, a nonprofit that funds the advancement of education through technology, from 1997 to 2001 and a visiting scholar at Silicon Graphics from 2001 to 2004. He was scholar at large at Microsoft Research, working on the Kinect device for Xbox 360 from 2006 to 2009. Currently he holds the position of partner architect at Microsoft Research.

Lanier is the author of the international bestseller You Are Not a Gadget (2010), a critique of Web 2.0, a second generation of the World Wide Web responding to people's desires to collaborate and share information online. In 2010 Time Magazine named Lanier to its annual list of the world's 100 most influential people. Lanier also composes classical music and collects rare instruments.

Wanda M. Austin

Wanda M. Austin '75 is president and CEO of The Aerospace Corp., an independent, nonprofit organization that supports the scientific planning of national security space programs for the U.S. government. The firm employs 4,000 worldwide.

Austin earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from F&M, a master's degree in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. She was named Black Engineer of the Year in 2009. That same year she served on the White House-commissioned U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. She was appointed to the Defense Science Board in 2010 and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.

Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage is an American playwright whose work often centers on the lives of women of African descent, African Americans and women.

She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She received a Pulitzer Prize for Ruined, a play focusing on the plight of women in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Her most recent play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, is loosely based on groundbreaking African-American actress Theresa Harris, who appeared in the 1933 Barbara Stanwyck movie Baby Face. The play completed a three-week run May 29 at New York's Second Stage Theatre, off Broadway.

Among her many honors are the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award (2010), a MacArthur Fellowship, or "genius grant" (2007), a Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowship (2007), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2005) and the PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama (2004). She is a graduate of Brown University and Yale School of Drama, where she is a lecturer in playwriting.