Commencement 2018

“You can be agents for positive change,” educator, cultural anthropologist, and author Johnnetta B. Cole said to the 580 graduates at Trinity College’s 192nd Commencement on Sunday, May 20.

Cole, who made history in 1987 when she became the first female African American president of Spelman College, spoke to a crowd of about 5,000 who witnessed 558 undergraduates and 22 graduate students receive their degrees. “In communities across our nation and our world, there is a crying need for peace, justice, and equality for all people,” she said. “It is because of the state of our nation and our world that we turn to you, the graduates of this very special college, to say that you can be and you must be the leaders we desperately need.”

Cole received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Trinity in 1998. Honored this year were Ralph V. Katz ’65, founding chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at New York University College of Dentistry, who received an honorary doctor of science degree, and William Palmer Scully ’61, civic leader and investment management professional, who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Walter Harrison ’68, president emeritus of the University of Hartford—who was being honored by the University of Hartford at its commencement on the same day—received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during Trinity’s Alumni Reunion in June, when he and his classmates celebrated their 50th Reunion. Graduating senior Elhadji Mare, the chosen student speaker, talked about diversity and inclusion as they related to his personal experiences as a Posse Scholar from Harlem, New York. “Do not hold any prejudice for those who seem different from you,” he said. “Listen to me when I say this: Different is good.”

President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, in her charge to the graduating class, said, “This is a special Commencement for me because you are a special class to me. We were first-years together! We came here in 2014, and your journey has been my journey, too.”

Mathilde Caroline Chloé Sauquet of France was named valedictorian. She earned a B.A. summa cum laude with dual majors in art history and in language and culture studies: Italian and Arabic, both with honors. The salutatorian was Deven James DeCapua Roberts of Maine, who earned a B.S. summa cum laude with dual majors in engineering, with honors, and mathematics.


Trustee Awards for Faculty, Student, and Staff Excellence
Faculty: Eric Galm, Associate Professor of Music
Students: Cassia Jade Armstrong ’18, Amro M.S. Arqoub ’18
Staff: Lukman Arsalan, Senior Associate Director of International Admissions and Student Success; Joseph C. Barber, Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement

The Thomas Church Brownell Prize for Teaching Excellence
Diana R. Paulin, Associate Professor of English and American Studies

The Dean Arthur H. Hughes Award for Achievement in Teaching
Tamsin Jones, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Watch the Commencement Highlights Video

Or view the photo gallery on Flickr.

Photos by Nick Caito, Al Ferreira