Following two consecutive ceremonies forced indoors by unfavorable forecasts, hopes are high for a canopy of blue sky and sunshine when families and friends gather on Hartman Green May 9 to celebrate the graduation of Franklin & Marshall College's class of 2015.
Robed and balancing mortarboards atop their heads, each of the 550 seniors will stride across the stage, where F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield will greet and confer upon them a bachelor of art degree and other honors that represent their respective levels of academic accomplishment.
The Commencement ceremony, held in the heart of the F&M campus, will begin at 10 a.m. (The rain location is the College's Alumni Sports & Fitness Center on the north side of Harrisburg Avenue).
"As a tradition of families coming to celebrate the accomplishments of their seniors, Commencement is always an exciting time for the Franklin & Marshall community," said Debbie Martin '72, director of protocol and events and associate secretary of the College. "The work accomplished to ensure this is a successful weekend is testament to the dedication of the College's academic departments and administrative offices."
Other graduation weekend activities include a picnic lunch for seniors and their families, a senior awards ceremony, and the baccalaureate program, created by members of the Class of 2015 to mark their years and experiences on the F&M campus.
During graduation, honorary degrees will be awarded to Richard Plepler '81, chairman and CEO of Home Box Office Inc., and distinguished scholars Robert Kwesi Koomson '97, a math teacher and founder of an educational institution in Ajumako, Ghana, West Africa, and Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Seating is limited, and priority will be given to families of the graduates. The ceremony also will be streamed live online. Viewing locations on campus include Bonchek Lecture Hall in the Ann and Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building and Stahr Auditorium in Stager Hall. These spaces are air-conditioned and handicapped accessible.
Plepler will deliver the Commencement's principal address. After graduating from F&M in 1981, Plepler worked for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd for three years before moving back to his hometown of Manchester, Conn., where he launched a successful public relations firm. Eight years later, he joined TimeWarner as a senior executive in corporate communications.
After three years he went to work for Jeffery Bewkes, who at the time was overseeing HBO. In 2007, Plepler became co-president of HBO, overseeing programming, and in 2013 ascended to chief executive. He is regarded not only for his leadership in guiding the country's oldest and longest continuously operating premier cable channel -- which has produced award-winning programs such as "Game of Thrones" and "True Detective" -- but also his passion for culture and his deep concern for national and international affairs.