Grinnell College will celebrate its Class of 2015 at this year’s exercises of commencement on Monday, May 18. The ceremony, in which approximately 400 students will receive the Bachelor of Arts degree, will feature an address by noted environmentalist and author Bill McKibben and the awarding of honorary degrees.
About Grinnell’s Commencement
Grinnell College’s Commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 18, at the amphitheater on central campus. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center, 1201 10th Ave., Grinnell. No tickets are required to attend the 10 a.m. commencement exercises. The ceremony also will be live streamed on Grinnell’s website.
About Bill McKibben
A renowned environmentalist and writer, McKibben is one of the nation’s most outspoken activists on global warming. He has written extensively about climate change, alternative energy, and genetic engineering. His book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book about climate change written for a general audience. His more recent works address social movements, consumerism, and shortcomings of the growth economy.
A native of Lexington, Massachusetts, McKibben completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard, where he served as president of The Harvard Crimson newspaper. After graduating, McKibben was a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. McKibben is currently a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
About honorary degree recipients
Bill McKibben will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree at Grinnell’s commencement exercises. Grinnell also will confer honorary degrees upon Mary Seely, Kit Abel Hawkins, Penny Bender Sebring ’64, and Charles Lewis.
Mary Seely is a renowned scientist with a history of work in environmental science, education, and policy in southern Africa. A visionary scientist and teacher, Seely served as director of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia for 16 years and has received numerous awards for her work on desert research and conservation. In 2003 she taught a short course at Grinnell on nongovernmental organizations and the environment, and her passion for fostering international cooperation has been critical to the establishment and continued success of the Grinnell Corps program in Namibia.
Kit Abel Hawkins is founder and director of the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences, a private K-8 school in Tualatin, Oregon. Established in 1989, Arbor is the manifestation of Hawkins' dream that education should be "decisive and enduring." Hawkins also established the Arbor Center for Teaching, a 2-year apprenticeship program in partnership with Marylhurst University for six individuals to receive their Master of Arts in Teaching. In nominating Hawkins, Rebecca Garner ’15 praised Hawkins for her "passion for a model of active engagement with learning."
Penny Bender Sebring ’64 is a senior research associate at the University of Chicago and co-director of the Consortium of Chicago School Research. After earning a degree in sociology from Grinnell, Sebring went on to study education and policy studies at Pennsylvania State University and Northwestern University. Sebring is widely published on a variety of topics including urban education, course-taking patterns, and school leadership, and is a Life Trustee of Grinnell College.
Charles Ashby Lewis is chairman of the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and managing general partner of Coach House Capital. A retired vice chairman of the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch and Co., Lewis is a graduate of Amherst College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Together with his wife, Penny Bender Sebring, Lewis helped make possible the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions program, which is designed to help students think about the long-term possibilities of teaching.
Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Information on commencement ceremonies is available at Grinnell’s Commencement webpage. For any further information on commencement, please call (641) 269-3178.