5/01/2019 Peter Durantine

May 11 Commencement Marks Passage for F&M Graduates

Franklin & Marshall’s Class of 2019 takes the summit of its undergraduate career May 11 when the members process to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” ending one journey and beginning another.

The College’s Commencement ceremony, held on Hartman Green in the center of F&M's campus, begins at 10 a.m. The rain location is the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center on the north side of Harrisburg Avenue.

“I look forward to my first Commencement as president of the College, and to giving a warm welcome to the graduates and their families on what is a special day that they have all worked so hard to reach,” Franklin & Marshall President Barbara Altmann said. 

  • Graduates on Hartman Green at one of F&M's past Commencements. Graduates on Hartman Green at one of F&M's past Commencements. Image Credit: Office of Communications

The speaker for this annual event, stretching back more than two centuries, is Dr. Rahel Nardos ’97, director of global health for Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She will share her story about the people who mentored her and the educational opportunities afforded her.

Commencement ceremonies also will include the presentation of an honorary degree to Bebe Miller, a veteran choreographer and dancer who performed professionally for decades, earning numerous awards and fellowships. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in dance, formed her own dance company, and pursued “an interest in finding a physical language for the human condition.” She taught at her alma mater for 17 years, retiring as distinguished professor of dance in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Since Bebe Miller Company formed in 1985, Miller has created more than 50 dance works that have been performed in nearly 400 engagements worldwide. Her company encompasses choreography, writing, film, video and digital media. She said her work “is rooted in exploring the human condition.” The Village Voice described Miller as “a tender visionary, a subtle social political commentator.”  

Nardos was born and raised in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where her chemistry teacher directed her to F&M. After graduating, she attended Yale University’s School of Medicine, where she studies obstetrics and gynecology, and found a passion for surgery.

After a year at a large hospital system in Addis Ababa, where she cared for women with obstetric fistula, a trauma to the bladder and bowels, she returned to the United States and trained in pelvic medicine and reconstructive pelvic surgery at OHSU. The founder of the Worldwide Fistula Fund invited her to join the organization and in 2017 she was elected secretary. At OHSU, she founded Footsteps to Healing, a global women’s health initiative that provides surgical services to rural Ethiopian women.

Other graduation weekend activities include a picnic lunch May 10 for seniors and their families on Sponaugle-Williamson Field. That evening, they are invited to the front of Old Main for the Lux et Lex Walk and Reception, sponsored by Alumni Association Board. 

At noon the following day, members of the Class of 2019 are invited to a post-Commencement reception, to celebrate their time at F&M with family, friends, alumni and faculty.

Seating at Commencement is limited with priority given to families of the graduates. The ceremony will be streamed live online. The viewing location on campus is Bonchek Lecture Hall in the Ann and Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building. The space is air-conditioned and accessible to the disabled.

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