Convocation honors medal winners, seniors

On Saturday, members of the Class of 2012, alongside students in the graduate program at the Center for Development Economics and the graduate program in art history, gathered to celebrate Convocation. Included in the annual Convocation ceremony was the awarding of three separate honors: the Bicentennial Medals for alumni who have achieved an extraordinary level of excellence in their field, the Grosvenor Cup for a senior in honor of his or her dedication and service to the College community and Phi Beta Kappa recognition for seniors in the top 5-percent of the class at the end of their junior year.

The Class of 2012 processed through Hopkins Gate outside West College during Convocation.
The Class of 2012 processed through Hopkins Gate outside West College during Convocation.

Convocation is one of three instances over the course of a student’s undergraduate career at the College when the entire class year convenes in one central venue. The other two incidents occur at Commencement and during First Days.

This year’s Bicentennial Medalists represented a wide variety of professional fields, from academic Frederick Rudolph ’42 to business journalist Bethany L. McLean ’92 who revealed the Enron financial scandal. Michael F. Roizen ’67, Wilfred Chabrier ’77 and Navjeet K. Bal ’84 were also conferred Bicentennial Medals by President Adam Falk. Accompanied by administrators, each of the honorees was seated at the front of the chapel and individually presented with the award.

Roizen was selected to represent the medalists with an address to the senior class titled “Why Waste The Senior Year?” Roizen is a physician and the chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic. He has served on numerous Food and Drug Administration committees over the past 16 years and has authored or coauthored five New York Times best sellers, including the YOU book series.

During his speech, he noted 12 concepts he wished that he had known as a senior at the College and that helped him to change the world. Chief amongst Roizen’s lessons were the benefits of “flying under the radar” and the idea that “ideas don’t win, teams win.”

Roizen, like the other four Bicentennial Medalists at Convocation, comes on the heels of many other esteemed alumni that have garnered this award since its creation in 1993. Rudolph earned a standing ovation from the crowd following Falk’s introduction. He served the College for over forty years as a professor of history and as a pioneer in studying the American system of higher education. Chabrier, the general manager at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has provided immeasurable support for minority- and women-owned business enterprises. Bal came to the College at the age of 16 and now serves as the Commissioner of Revenue for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Grosvenor Cup was awarded to Zach Evans ’12. Evans was presented with the Cup for his intensive and reliable service to various campus organizations. During his first three years at the College, Evans served on the Claiming Williams Committee, the Minority Coalition, the Williams Steering Committee and the Junior Advisor Selection Committee. He is also serving as Queer Student Union president.

“It was my incredible pleasure to write the presentation in which I gradually revealed that Zach was winner of the Grovesnor Memorial Cup,” Dean Bolton said. “I was thrilled that he was selected – it was a great choice.”

Following Evans’ acceptance of the Grosvenor Cup, College Council Co-Presidents Francesca Barrett ’12 and Nick Fogel ’12 addressed their classmates. The subject of their speech was making the College a home. The duo noted that their experience at the College is something that will continue with them and is a source of the utmost pride.

Rick Spalding, chaplain to the College, gave the invocation, and Gary Caster, Roman Catholic chaplain, performed the benediction.

Bridget Ngcobo ’12 and Stephen Maier ’12, who were chosen as senior class marshals, led the procession in and out of Chapin hall.

Throughout the ceremony, music was integrated to accompany the various events. As students marched into Thompson Memorial Chapel, they did so to the beat of the Mucho Macho Moocow Marching Band. Following Falk’s opening remarks, Laone Thekiso ’12 played two classical pieces for the crowd. Convocation ended to the tune of “The Mountains,” the College song.