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Commencement Speaker

U.S. Congressman John Lewis has been an activist and champion for civil rights, human rights, and social justice for more than 50 years. Standing and working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he risked his life in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. It seems fitting that he will address the first graduates of the newly independent Antioch College—almost 50 years to the day after Dr. King addressed the Class of 1965 on our historic campus.

Congressman Lewis represents the State of Georgia’s 15th District.  Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced, John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights and securing civil liberties in America.  His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

As a young boy, Congressman Lewis was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become part of the Civil Rights Movement.  Ever since the, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons. He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

During the height of the Movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was largely responsible for organizing student activism in the Movement, including sit-ins and other activities.

While still a young man, Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.

In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led more than 600 peaceful protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence.

After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). Under his leadership, the VEP transformed the nation’s political climate by adding nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls.

In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. While serving on the Council, he was an advocate for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then.

Lewis holds a B.A. in religion and philosophy from Fisk University, and he is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Nashville, Tennessee.

He is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medical of Freedom.  He was also granted the only John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for Lifetime Achievement ever presented by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

Program Schedule

In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the commencement address to the graduating class. Fifty years later, Antioch College will graduate its first class since reopening—a class of pioneers in their own right, just like many members of the class of 1965 and thousands of alumni in between.

We invite you to join us in celebration of this historic occasion on Saturday, June 20, 2015. The commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the campus lawn between North Hall and Main Building*. Tickets are not required, but RSVPs are encouraged to ensure appropriate accommodations.

* See our inclement weather policy.


(subject to change)

with music by the World House Choir: “It’s a New World”

President’s Welcome


Greetings from the Board                                                                   

Student Speakers                                                 

Musical Selection
World House Choir: “I Woke Up This Morning With Freedom on my Mind”

Commencement Address
U.S. Congressman John Lewis

Recognition of the 2015 Horace Mann Fellows                   

Conferral of Degrees                                                                              

Alumni Welcome to Graduates                  

Closing Remarks                                                                                        

Musical Selection
World House Choir: “Never Give Up”                                                                                               

A reception will follow in the Herndon Gallery for graduates, their families and the faculty. Other guests are welcome to join alumni for a celebration under the tent on Main Lawn. Donations at the door or in advance are encouraged to offset the cost of food.

Commencement is just one of many events planned for the combined Reunion and Commencement Weekend 2015: From Civil Rights to Social JusticeAlumni and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend other events throughout the weekend with the appropriate registration.

ALUMNI, PLEASE NOTE: If you registered for Reunion through the alumni website, you do not need to RSVP separately for Commencement.

Live Broadcast

Check back on Saturday, June 20 for a live video stream of the commencement ceremony. A full recording of the ceremony will be made available following the event.

Reunion Activities

Commencement is just one of many events planned for the combined Reunion and Commencement Weekend 2015: From Civil Rights to Social Justice. Alumni and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend other events throughout the weekend with the appropriate registration.






6-9 p.m.    -    VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION DINNER (by invitation only)



9 a.m.-5 p.m.    -    REUNION REGISTRATION


4-6 p.m.    -    FILM SCREENING WITH Q&A


6-9 p.m.    -    ALUMNI LEGACY DINNER

Celebrating Antioch alumni who graduated in or before 1965



9 a.m.-5 p.m.    -    REUNION REGISTRATION


7:30-9:30 a.m.    -    C-SHOP BREAKFAST


8-9 a.m.    -    HIKE IN GLEN HELEN

                        HARVEST ON THE FARM

Take a tour of the geothermal plant and solar array, then join farm manager Kat Christen and student farm workers for the morning harvest



This is an opportunity to connect with students, learn about their recent co-ops, and senior projects. Help students build networks and  connections for future co-ops or become a mentor.  (organized by Jack Matthews Class of 2015)


10 a.m.-4 p.m.    -    WYSO OPEN HOUSE




12:30-1:30 p.m.    -    COMMUNITY PICNIC


12:30-1:30 p.m.    -    CHAPTER ORGANIZERS MEETING


1:15-3:15 p.m.    -    CHANGEMAKERS CAFE

Join our lively Changemakers Café to actively engage with Antiochians and friends of all generations around our meanings of social change  and how we individually and collectively strive to “win victories for humanity”. Based on the World Café approach to large scale engagement now being used on six continents—and discovered by Antioch graduate Juanita Brown '65— this collaborative dialogue will embody the philosophy and practice of  conversational leadership, allowing us to foster “conversations that matter”  with one another, our communities, and our organizations. 


2-4 p.m.    -    FILM SCREENING WITH Q&A 



Award winners will come together during a plenary session. Each awardee will share their views and accomplishments in their  Horace Talk, based on the dynamic TED Talk model, followed by  a moderated discussion between panelists.


5:30-6:30 p.m.    -    DECADES RECEPTION

Reconnect with friends of all decades. Special recognition  for 10, 20, 30, 40, & 50 year anniversaries.



Dinner tickets available for purchase.  Free general seating is also available beginning at 7 p.m. (with Hors d'Oeuvres  and cash bar)


7:30-10 p.m.    -    WYSO BROADCASTERS BALL

Help WYSO open their radio archives by participating in a live recreation of radio programming. All proceeds benefit WYSO.




9:30 p.m.    -    CONCERT


9:30-10:30 p.m.    -    BONFIRE ON HORSESHOE


10 p.m.    -    STOOP PARTY



7:30-9:30 a.m.    -    C-SHOP BREAKFAST



 Free and open to the public.



 For the graduates and families of the Class of 2015. By invitation only.


12:30-1:30 p.m.    -    COMMENCEMENT CELEBRATION 

For alumni and friends. Appetizers and refreshments. 


2-3:30 p.m.     -    SOFTBALL GAME

The most collaborative that a competitive sport has ever been played. No football team doesn’t mean we can’t play softball!





Retrospective of where we are today in the fight for civil rights and social justice and the continued work of the Andrew Goodman  Foundation. Presented by David Goodman '69 and  Eleanor Holmes Norton '60.


5-6 p.m.    -    MINGLE & WINE

Wine and Craft Brew Tasting




9:30 p.m.    -    DIV DANCE

                          MOVIE NIGHT





9-11 a.m.    -    FAREWELL BRUNCH




9 a.m.-2 p.m.    -    WYSO: JUSTICE & RADIO

Tour the WYSO Audio Archives at the WYSO studios on campus where 300 hours of programming about Civil Rights and social justice are stored. Go into a WYSO recording studio with a facilitator and make a recording of your memories with a classmate, family member or friend. Do you remember a significant event at Antioch College or in the Village? Do you have memories that should be preserved for future generations? Studio sign-up time will be  available soon. 



Post-Event Media

Check back after Commencement for photos and other media from the ceremony!

Event Logistics

Antioch College is a beautiful, historic campus, made up of 100 acres and 25 buildings.The campus opens onto a huge park of ancient trees, which leads the eye easily to the 1,000-acre Glen Helen Nature Preserve—the legacy of Hugh Taylor Birch, who donated the wooded glen to Antioch College in memory of his daughter, Helen, in 1929.

The Commencement ceremony will be outdoors (except in cases of extreme weather) at the traditional site known as Red Square, between Antioch Hall and North Hall, around “the mound.” Information about parking, lodging, accessibility, and more is provided to help you plan your visit. 

Getting to Antioch College

Antioch College is located at One Morgan Place, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. (If your GPS unit is more than a few years old, use 795 Livermore Street).

The most convenient airport to Yellow Springs is the Dayton International Airport, which is 25 miles away. The Columbus Airport is roughly 60 miles away.

1. Take exit 52A off Interstate 70 and head south on Route 68 toward Xenia and Yellow Springs. About seven miles down the road, you will enter Yellow Springs. Route 68 then becomes Xenia Avenue, the main street through Yellow Springs.

2. Proceed through downtown Yellow Springs and turn left at Center College St.

3. Center College St. will dead end at Livermore St. and you will see the College campus. Parking is available along Livermore and in other designated areas on campus.

Click here to view the campus map.

Travel Discounts

We have negotiated airline and rental car discounts for guests attending Commencement. You may use the discount code #A7765AZ to take advantage of discounts for American Airlines flights scheduled on or between June 15, 2014 - June 24, 2015. Contact American Airlines Meeting Services Desk at 1-800-433-1790 for assistance with reservations and ticket purchase. In addition, Antioch College has partnered with Avis to provide rental cars at a discounted rate. If you wish to reserve a car, please contact Todd Alexander at 1-800-525-7537 Ext. 35003 or the Meetings and Convention Department at 1-800-525-7537. They can ensure that you maximize your rental dollars. 

Where to Stay

We have partnered with many area hotels to offer discounted rates for Reunion and Commencement attendees. To book a blocked room, contact the hotel and let them know you’re with the Antioch College group. Shuttle service from select hotels to campus will be available. Check the Reunion page for updates. You may also find the Yellow Springs Lodging Solution and the Yellow Springs Lodging Directory to be of use.


Free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in any of the Antioch College lots on Commencement day. A state-issued disability parking permit is required for parking in designated accessible spaces. Overflow parking is available at the Mills Lawn School (200 S. Walnut St.). The College will provide complimentary shuttle service from Mills Lawn School to the shuttle drop off area near the ceremony site. The shuttle will run before and after Commencement— every 15-20 minutes, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. No pickups will be made after 9:30 a.m. on Commencement day.  

Sign Language Interpreters

American Sign Language interpreters will be present at the Commencement ceremony, located on the left hand side as guests face the stage. Reserved seating near the left hand side of the stage will be provided for easy visibility.

Inclement Weather

As it has been for decades, the area known as Red Square, between Antioch Hall and North Hall, is the traditional site of Antioch’s Commencement ceremony. Antiochians feel a strong tie to the crossing of “the mound” when they receive their diplomas. 

PLEASE COME PREPARED TO BE OUTDOORS. Families should consider the comfort and well-being of guests who are elderly or require special resources when planning for the traditional outdoor ceremony.

Commencement will be moved indoors only in cases of extreme weather forecasts such as ongoing downpour, high tornado probability, or temperatures exceeding 95'F or below 50'F. Light sprinkles of rain and/or brisk wind are unlikely to cause the ceremony to be moved indoors.

The inclement weather call is made a few hours before Commencement begins (generally by 7:30 a.m.) to allow for all of the logistical changes that must be made. Students will be notified of the weather decision via e-mail a few hours before the Commencement ceremony.

In the unlikely case of sudden, extreme weather—unanticipated thunderstorms or high winds that spring up during the ceremony—standard security protocols will go into effect: the ceremony will be put on hold and students, faculty members, and guests will be moved to interior locations immediately surrounding the Commencement site.

If inclement weather is imminent, the ceremony will be held in the South Gym of the Wellness Center at Antioch College. Because of limited seating, only graduates, their families and guests, faculty, and special guests will be seated in South Gym. The remainder of the attendees can view a live stream of the ceremony from the Foundry Theater or the Art and Science Building.