The Office of the President is currently looking for input from students, faculty and staff to aid them in choosing the speaker and honorary degree recipients for this year’s commencement ceremony.
Choosing a speaker is a multi-step process. First, nominations are accepted from members of the Whitman community. The nominations are approved by the Board of Trustees, and then a committee looks at details like the availability of the potential speaker, the potential speaker’s relationship with Whitman and the speaker’s travel plans in order to find the best fit.
In order to make a nomination, students, staff and faculty have to fill out a form which can be found on the Whitman website at this link: http://www.whitman.edu/content/president/nominate.
The form asks for the name, occupation and a brief biography of the candidate along with a reason for nominating this person.
Nominations opened on Sep. 9 and they will remain open until Saturday, Oct. 1. The Office of the President was keen to start taking nominations as early as possible so that they would have more time to consider each candidate.
Mara Sorkin, events coordinator in the president’s office, urges students, especially seniors, to place their nominations.
“Anyone from any class can nominate someone, but we’d especially love it if the seniors would share their feelings. It’s their graduation and their ceremony. We want to know who people want to hear,” she said.
Sorkin looks forward to seeing the list of nominees.
“We’d love to see a diverse, wide range of candidates this year,” she said.
Ruth Wardwell, assistant vice president of communications, is working with the rest of the staff of the Communications Office to help publicize the process of finding a commencement speaker by including information about it in a weekly staff and faculty newsletter and by posting announcements about it on the Internet.
Wardwell feels that allowing students, staff and faculty to participate in the nomination process is very valuable. She plans on submitting a nomination herself.
“Whitman is a community. Whitman people are deeply invested in and take great care and ownership of the college, and something like the commencement speaker is very meaningful,” she said.