Stanford to celebrate graduates during 127th Commencement Weekend

Sterling K. Brown, an award-winning actor and alumnus, will give the Commencement address on Sunday in Stanford Stadium, and Elizabeth Alexander, renowned writer and president of the Mellon Foundation, will give the Baccalaureate address on Saturday in the Main Quad.

Stanford will honor graduates during Commencement Weekend, which begins this evening with the Senior Dinner on the Quad and ends with a host of ceremonies on Sunday afternoon.


Stanford’s 127th Commencement Weekend will include Baccalaureate on Saturday, June 16, and the Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 17. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

The main event, the 127th Commencement, will take place Sunday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Stanford Stadium. During the program, the Stanford Chamber Chorale will perform “America, the Beautiful” and “The Stanford Hymn.”

Baccalaureate, a multi-faith gathering led by students, will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Main Quad. Stanford Taiko and Stanford Talisman will perform.

This year, Stanford will award 1,747 bachelor’s degrees, 2,460 master’s degrees and 1,017 doctoral degrees, according to preliminary numbers released this week.

The festivities are expected to attracted some 30,000 visitors to campus.

Sterling K. Brown, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first African-American to win both the Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic TV series for his role in the NBC family drama, This is Us, will give the Commencement address.

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in drama at Stanford in 1998, earned an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2001.

In announcing Brown as the 2018 Commencement speaker, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said: “Sterling K. Brown is an eloquent role model for an entire generation, inspiring us with moving performances that not only bring life to each character, but also impart to the world a deeper understanding of society.”

During the Commencement ceremony, five members of the faculty and two students will receive 2018 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores Awards.

The Commencement ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be webcast live on Sunday beginning at 9:30 and can be viewed here.

Stanford Commencement will also be broadcast live on Stanford’s radio station KZSU FM 90.1 and on Recordings of the main ceremony will be available on Stanford iTunes and Stanford YouTube following the event. A link to those recordings will be added when they are available.

Following the Commencement ceremony, individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies and receptions in locations across campus both outdoors – lawns, courtyards and groves – and indoors, including Maples Pavilion, Campbell Recital Hall and Cubberley Auditorium.

Elizabeth Alexander, a writer, poet, memoirist and president of the Mellon Foundation, a philanthropic organization for higher education and the arts, will give the Baccalaureate Address on Saturday morning.

In announcing Alexander as the Baccalaureate speaker, the Rev. Professor Jane Shaw, dean for religious life at Stanford, called Alexander a supremely talented and thoughtful poet, essayist and memoirist whose advocacy of the arts is vital in today’s world.

“Her ability to articulate the importance of the arts and humanities, as well as a sense of the sacred, for reaching beyond ourselves and connecting to others makes her voice an important one for our graduating students as they go out into the world,” Shaw said.

Graduating senior Eni Jonathan Asebiomo will give the student address at Baccalaureate, a multi-faith event for students and their families and friends. Asebiomo, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, is earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was winner of the student speaker contest held by the Office for Religious Life.

On Saturday afternoon, President Tessier-Lavigne and his wife, Mary Hynes, a noted neuroscientist, will host a reception for graduates and their guests in the gardens of Lou Henry Hoover House.