A bacteriologist, a Hollywood star and a celebrated writer were among the six people receiving honorary degrees at Brown University commencement this weekend. The ceremony, during which more than 2,400 students received degrees, was the first presided over by Brown’s new president Christina Paxson.
The graduating class weathered some rain and wind during this year's festivities, forcing the university to cancel the traditional Baccalaureate procession on Saturday. Sunday's commencement exercises went forward as scheduled.
Rhode Island is teeming with freshly minted college graduates this morning. Over the weekend, commencement ceremonies were held at all three public colleges, as well as Johnson &Wales, Roger Williams University, Bryant University, Salve Regina University and Providence College.
At Rhode Island College a flash mob formed at the end of the ceremony. Graduates from the music, theater and dance departments led the crowd of 1,400 in a special rendition of “I’ve had the Time of My Life.”
Actor turned Director Ben Affleck will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts during Brown University’s commencement next month. Affleck’s film Argo won best picture at the Academy Awards in February, but he was famously snubbed by the Oscar committee when it came to a best director nomination.
Brown will also confer honorary degrees on writer and MIT professor Junot Diaz and bacteriologist Stanley Falkow, along with three others. Falkow will host a forum on infectious diseases as part of commencement weekend.
Commencement speakers for 2013 are a mixed bunch. At New England Institute of Technology, quarterback turned sports analyst Terry Bradshaw will give the commencement speech on May 5th. The school is also honoring Taco, Inc. CEO John Hazen White, Jr. with an honorary doctor of humane letters, citing his leadership in the business community and his company’s commitment to education for employees.