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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 5th 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 then, 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 For Jobs and Freedom 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 remains 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 Presidential Medal 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.

Update: Due to tomorrow's poor weather forecast we have decided to move Commencement into the South Gym of the Wellness Center. Please enter through the double glass doors facing the tennis courts.

Seating is limited. Priority admittance will be given to the graduating class, their guests, and current Antioch students. The ceremony will be live streamed in the Foundry Theater and Room 219 of the Art and Science Building. We will also have golf cart shuttles to these overflow seating locations.


ORDER OF THE CEREMONY

(subject to change)

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

President’s Welcome

Invocation                                                                                                     

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 here in the next couple days for video highlights of the first Antioch College Commencement since 2008.

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.

 

MONDAY, JUNE 15 – THURSDAY, JUNE 18

ALL DAY    -    VOLUNTEER WORK PROJECT

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17

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

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 18

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

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 19

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

 

9-10:30 a.m.    -    BUILDING ALUMNI: STUDENT NETWORKS

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

 

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.    -    ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEETING & Q&A WITH PRESIDENT MARK ROOSEVELT

 

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 

 

3:30-5:30 p.m.    -    ALUMNI AWARDS PRESENTATION PLENARY & HORACE TALKS

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.

  

6:30-9 p.m.    -    DINNER & KEYNOTE SPEAKER MIA MCKENZIE

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 p.m.    -    BARGER-EASTMAN FOLK DANCE

 

9:30 p.m.    -    CONCERT

 

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

 

10 p.m.    -    STOOP PARTY

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 20

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

 

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.    -    2015 COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY WITH SPEAKER CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS

 Free and open to the public.

 

12:30-1:30 p.m.    -    COMMENCEMENT RECEPTION IN HERNDON GALLERY

 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!

  

2-4 p.m.    -    SCREENING OF “KING: A FILMED RECORD FROM MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS” FOLLOWED BY Q&A WITH CREATOR  RICHARD KAPLAN '49

 

4 p.m.    -    GOODMAN, CHENEY, SCHWERNER STORY

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

 

6:30-9 p.m.    -    CELEBRATION DINNER & STATE OF THE COLLEGE ADDRESS WITH PRESIDENT MARK ROOSEVELT

 

9:30 p.m.    -    DIV DANCE

                          MOVIE NIGHT

 

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 21

9-11 a.m.    -    FAREWELL BRUNCH

 

11 a.m.    -    MEMORIAL FOR ANTIOCHIANS AND FRIENDS 

 

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!

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