Oxford students take part in commencement ceremonies on the Oxford quad.

Commencement 2017 sends graduates on to the next step

Oxford students celebrated the completion of their time at Oxford on May 6 during traditional commencement ceremonies on the Oxford quad.

On Saturday, May 6, Oxford College observed its 172nd Commencement exercises, celebrating more than 320 Oxford sophomores’ completion of their first two years of undergraduate study. As juniors, they will complete their degrees on Emory University’s Atlanta campus as students in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta School of Business, or Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

The ceremony opened by tradition with a bagpiper, playing The Emory and Old St. Andrews March and wearing the colors of Emory University and the University of St. Andrews, Emory's sister university in Scotland. Then followed the procession of students, faculty and special guests, led by Chief Marshal Eloise Carter, professor of biology. The official Emory mace was carried by Muhammad Naveed, who served in the past year as president of Oxford’s Student Government Association.

Dignitaries
Emory University President Claire E. Sterk conferred the degrees. Oxford Dean Douglas A. Hicks was joined by other Emory dignitaries, including Interim Provost Stuart Zola and Interim Dean of Emory College Michael Elliott. 

Speaker
The speaker for the ceremony was Teresa Rivero 85Ox 87B 93MPH, lead senior program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an Emory University trustee. In her address, Rivero recounted growing up with parents who left Cuba after the revolution of 1959 and her mother’s words of challenge and encouragement: Get involved. It’s what Americans do. She told the story of how she has lived up to those words through her career with Merrill Lynch, the Peace Corps, Woodruff Foundation, and now Gates Foundation, leaving students with a challenge to consider opportunities that aren’t linear or are what others may describe as unconventional and told them not to be afraid of options that don’t have a clear view. 

The address was followed by a traditional highlight of the day: the awarding of the Emory Williams Teaching Award, and the Virgil Y.C. Eady Sophomore Award:

Emory Williams Teaching Award
Susan Youngblood Ashmore, professor of history, was the recipient of the Emory Williams Award, Emory University’s highest award for excellence in teaching. It is given annually to faculty members in each college, graduate school and professional school of the university. Emory University. In presenting the award to Dr. Ashmore, Academic Dean Ken Anderson, noted her active and productive scholarship as the author of numerous articles, an award-winning book, and another book title nearly completed. He also praised her wide variety of teaching approaches, her empowerment and mentorship of students, and her work on behalf of Oxford faculty.

Virgil Y.C. Eady Sophomore Service Award
One of the highest honors that Oxford College bestows, and the only student award given at Commencement, is the Eady Sophomore Service Award, presented to the sophomore student who, in the judgment of the faculty and chief administrators, has given outstanding and selfless service to the Oxford college community. The 2017 recipient is Jenna Cariker, a sophomore from O’Fallon, Illinois. Dean of Campus Life Joe Moon presented the award, noting Jenna’s participation in the Sophomore Class Gift Committee, Oxford Chorale and Oxapella, Volunteer Oxford, and Alternative Spring Break as well as her high academic achievement. He commended her “quiet, selfless, behind-the-scenes dedication…and the good and caring sprit with which you live your life.”

Golden Robes
Marching in procession with the Oxford graduates and faculty were members of the Oxford College class of 1967, the newest members of the Golden Robes, alumni whose graduation year was 50 or more years ago.


Live-streaming
For the first time, live-streaming of the ceremony was available to those who could not attend in person. The video has been archived, and it is available now for viewing.

Photo Gallery
Scroll through photos from Oxford's baccalaureate and commencement courtesy of Emory Photo/Video.