Graduating seniors will enjoy some pomp, music and dance performances, and get to reflect on their experiences at WPI during Friday’s Baccalaureate Ceremony, which will be held for the first time on the Quadrangle.
The ceremony, which will go from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., will feature guest speaker Woody E. Bradford ’89, President and CEO at Conning, and Chairman of the Board of The Greater Boston Food Bank. Seniors Anna Civitarese and Athena Casarotto will be the student speakers.
“The Baccalaureate is a longstanding tradition that is held the evening before commencement at WPI,” says Jim McLaughlin, assistant dean of student programs, and advisor to the Baccalaureate Committee. “It’s planned completely by the seniors on the Baccalaureate Committee. It’s a very special night for the seniors and their families, to pause and reflect on their WPI experience.”
Serving on this year’s Baccalaureate Committee are chair Jeniece Macedonio, Ivette Cariño, Angelia Giannone, Courtney McGinness, and Veronica Rivero Gorrin. Rehearsal for Baccalaureate will be held this evening.
“Students audition to be selected to speak at Baccalaureate and Commencement,” McLaughlin said. “It is very competitive, and it’s an honor to be selected to speak or perform music at Baccalaureate.
“All the performances are by seniors this year,” he says. They also select a special guest inspirational speaker, usually an alumnus, who can identify with WPI. It’s not always an alumnus; we’ve had trustees or faculty speak in past years. This year they selected Woody Bradford.
Prior to joining Conning in 2010, Bradford was an operating partner with Advent International, a global private equity firm. Previously, he spent 12 years at Putnam Investments where he had multiple roles, including head of corporate development and chief operating officer for Global Distribution. He is a graduate of WPI and the Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.
McLaughlin says that students had read an article about Bradford in the WPI Journal, and were struck by his recollections of life in Maine as a young boy. “He’s had a passion for helping others, and provided leadership for food bank separate from his full-time career. They value and respect him,” McLaughlin adds.
President Leshin, Provost Overström, the deans, and the faculty all attend Baccalaureate in their academic regalia.
“There’s lots of pomp and circumstance. What’s exciting is that this is the first year we’re holding it on the Quadrangle,” McLaughlin says. “Every year until now we’ve held it in Alden, and it’s been so full that people would be standing at the rear, and in the hallway.”
The Prelude will feature various selections performed by the WPI Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Douglas Weeks.
A reception will follow in the Sports and Recreation Center.