Commencement Speeches

Click here to read the commencement address by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly.

Click here to read President Leon Botstein's charge to the graduates.

Contact Us

Please contact the Office of Special Events at or 845-758-7867 with questions about commencement.

Bard's 153rd Commencement

Bard College held its 153rd commencement on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

At the commencement ceremony, Bard president Leon Botstein conferred 464 undergraduate degrees on the Class of 2013 and 157 graduate degrees. Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, delivered the commencement address. Honorary degrees were awarded to Giffords, former commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Brian S. Fischer, microbiologist Jo Handelsman, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick ’58, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, and chef Alice Waters.

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly Give Commencement Address at Bard College

In their commencement address, Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly urged the class of 2013 to take risks and not fear failure. Giffords told the class to create, lead, and innovate. "Starting tomorrow you can change the world."

Read the full text of the address here.

Watch the full commencement program here.

President Leon Botstein's Charge to the Class of 2013

In his annual charge to graduates at this year's commencement, President Botstein reflected on a year of tragic and violent events in the news. He encouraged graduates to embrace the values of Bard College in response to violence in our culture, particularly the traditions of public service and lifetime learning. Click here to read the full text of President Botstein's charge.