Commencement 2019

Sam Kennedy delivering the Commencement speech“Life is indeed a team sport. I urge you to help each other, look out for each other, and care for each other,” Boston Red Sox President and CEO Samuel H. Kennedy said to the 537 graduates at Trinity College’s 193rd Commencement on Sunday, May 19.

Kennedy addressed a crowd of about 5,000 gathered on the Main Quad in front of Trinity’s historic Long Walk buildings to witness 506 undergraduates and 31 graduate students receive their degrees.

Kennedy—a Trinity alumnus from the Class of 1995 and member of the baseball team for a year of his time on campus—gave examples of the relationships that helped to shape his career and inspire his current team’s achievements, which include winning the 2018 World Series championship. “When you truly recognize and cherish the value of those relationships, you create opportunities and establish a culture that allows miracles to happen—like, say, a Trinity College benchwarmer becoming the president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox,” he said.

graduates throwing caps in the airKennedy ended his address by announcing a surprise gift: tickets for each graduate and a guest to attend the Red Sox home game on Memorial Day. “There’s no better place on the planet than Fenway Park to build relationships,” said Kennedy. “Your name is on the list. Tell them Sam sent you.”

Earlier in the ceremony, Kennedy received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in recognition of his distinguished career in Major League Baseball and his charitable work with the community and on behalf of children. Honorary degrees also were presented, in absentia, to West Hartford native Nancy Beth Lublin, the founder of Crisis Text Line, and, posthumously, to Bruce N. Whitman, a pioneer in the aviation industry and a 1955 Trinity graduate.

student jumping on the luther roosevelt stoneBrooke Mocarski LePage, the Class of 2019 graduate selected as the student speaker, said that she was especially honored to be chosen during the year that celebrates 50 years of coeducation at Trinity. LePage challenged her classmates to speak a little louder, stand a little taller, and take serious consideration in each interaction. “This is your call to action to speak for those who cannot always speak for themselves and be brave enough to spark social change like our dear trustees once did 50 years ago,” she said.  

Before delivering her charge to the graduating class, Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney led a moment of silence to honor the life of Chase Hyde, a member of the Class of 2019 who died in fall 2018. “His death was a profound loss for his family, friends, and our entire community, and his absence is felt deeply,” Berger-Sweeney said.

student graduatingBerger-Sweeney later said that each member of the Class of 2019 had been given the gift of a Trinity education. “You have been given teachers, mentors, and coaches who care deeply about you and have pushed you to be your best self,” she said. “What will you choose to do with this gift of a Trinity education? How will you empower others? How will you transform the world? I will forever treasure the gifts you’ve given to me, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your gifts.”

Garret Richard Forst of Ohio was named valedictorian. He earned a B.A summa cum laude with dual majors in history and in urban studies, the latter with honors. The salutatorian was Aashwin Basnet of Nepal, who earned a B.S. summa cum laude with dual majors in mathematics and in physics, the latter with honors, and a minor in religious studies.


student with parentTrustee Awards for Faculty, Student, and Staff Excellence
Faculty: Timothy Curran, Professor of Chemistry
Students: Vianna Iorio ’19, Simran D. Sheth ’19
Staff: Marcia Phelan Johnson, Budget Director

The Thomas Church Brownell Prize for Teaching Excellence      
Adrienne Fulco, Associate Professor of Legal and Policy Studies

The Dean Arthur H. Hughes Award for Achievement in Teaching
Michelle L. Kovarik, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

The Charles A. Dana Research Professorship Award
Pablo Delano, Professor of Fine Arts

The Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professorship Award
Lin Cheng, Associate Professor of Engineering

The Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professorship Award
Abigail Fisher Williamson, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Law

Download the program from the ceremony. To view more images from commencement please visit the Commencement website, where you can also view an archived stream of the complete ceremony.

Photos by Nick Caito, Shana Sureck