Bard College Commencement

Bard College Commencement

Photo by Pete Mauney
Photo by Pete Mauney '93 MFA '00

Bard College will hold its 156th commencement on Saturday, May 28, 2016.

Harvard Law Professor and Author Randall Kennedy to Deliver Commencement Address

Honorary Degrees Will Be Awarded to Kennedy, Geneticist Jennifer A. Doudna, Historian William Chester Jordan, Media Executive Geraldine Laybourne, Law Professor Elisabeth A. Semel '72, and Editor Robert B. Silvers

Bard College will hold its 156th commencement on Saturday, May 28, 2016. At the commencement ceremony, Bard President Leon Botstein will confer 490 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2016 and 160 graduate degrees, including master of fine arts; doctor and master of philosophy and master of arts in decorative arts, design history, and material culture; master of science in economic theory and policy; master of business administration in sustainability; master of arts in teaching; master of arts in curatorial studies; master of science in environmental policy and in climate science and policy; and master of music in vocal arts and in conducting. The program, which begins at 2:30 p.m. in the commencement tent on the Seth Goldfine Memorial Rugby Field, will include the presentation of honorary doctoral degrees. Learn More


Commencement Speaker

Harvard Law Professor and Author Randall Kennedy 

Randall Kennedy is Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches courses on contracts, criminal law, and the regulation of race relations. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended St. Albans School, Princeton University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. He served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime, and the Law, Kennedy writes for a wide range of scholarly and general interest publications. His most recent books are For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law (2013), The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency (2011), Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal (2008), Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption (2003), and Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (2002). A member of the American Law Institute, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Association, Kennedy is also a charter trustee of Princeton University.   


Online registration for Commencement and Alumni/ae Reunion Weekend is now closed, but tickets for many events will be available on campus. Visit the registration desk in the Campus Center for more information.

Contact Us

Please contact the Office of Special Events at or 845-758-7867 with questions about commencement.
    Academic Procession and Commencement Exercises

    Academic Procession and Commencement Exercises

    Academic Procession
    The Class of 2016, trustees, and faculty are invited to march in the academic procession. Academic attire is required.

    Honorary Degrees
    Randall Kennedy
    Commencement Speaker
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    Jennifer A. Doudna
    Doctor of Science

    William Chester Jordan 
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    Geraldine Laybourne
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    Elisabeth A. Semel '72 
    Doctor of Laws
    Alumni/ae Honorary Degree

    Robert B. Silvers
    Doctor of Letters 

    2 pm Formation of the Academic Procession
    Annandale Road, south of the Chapel of the Holy Innocents

    2:30 pm Commencement Exercises
    Seth Goldfine Memorial Field, Commencement tent
    Celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2016 and the awarding of honorary degrees.