Liveblog of Commencement

by Laura  K. Garrison

Waiting on line to get in commencement… Not fun.

For those of you that were not able to get tickets for commencement (basically, everyone), The Nine Ways of Knowing plans to liveblog all the key events of the afternoon so keep checking back for a play-by-play… or so that you know when to tune in for the President’s commencement speech! Multiple live streams are going to be posted, so be sure to check the White House’s stream as well as Barnard’s. Additionally, CSPAN will be airing the event if you want to watch commencement from the comfort of your living room (it’s ridiculously humid right now, so we’ll be jealous).

Check our Twitter for pictures!


2:10pm: Signing off, before my laptop battery dies. Congrats again to the Class of 2012!

2:06pm: Congratulations to the bold, beautiful women of Barnard’s Class of 2012! We’re so proud of all you’ve accomplished! The world is yours for the taking!

2:04pm: Most of the press has cleared out. Obama’s speech was inspiring, touching, and funny. Thanks for coming back to the campus of Columbia, Mr. President; it’s such an honor to have you here. As DSpar said earlier, you and your family are always welcome at Barnard.


2:02pm: I hate when you have to “hold your applause until the last senior is called.” They’ve worked too hard over the past four years not to get their moment of glory!

2:01pm: Dean Hinkson steps up to begin the awarding of degrees.

1:59pm: DSpar: “We can all take a deep breath now.”

1:58pm: Obama ends his speech, amid applause and cheers of “GOBAMA!” from the graduating class. Shout-out to the senior who got a hug from the POTUS!

1:57pm: “I will join you every step of the way.” Obama pledges support to those who dedicate themselves to making the United States “a more perfect union.”

1:54pm: Obama talks about his mother raising him as a single mom, getting her education, through failed marriages, and living overseas. Also the grandmother who helped raise him, and Mrs. Obama who dealt with being a working mom. Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

1:47pm: Obama asks us to encourage young girls to care about science and books over pop culture and fashion…though Mrs. Obama believes you should care about them a little…”you can be powerful and stylish.”

1:42pm: Shout-out to Olympia Snowe, Senator from Maine – Obama’s bipartisanship.

1:41pm: “Though no women signed [the Constitution], you can be sure there were Founding Mothers whispering smarter things in the ears of the Founding Fathers.”


1:40pm: “Fight for your seat at the table; better yet, fight for your seat at the head of the table.”

1:38pm: “Today women aren’t just half the country, you’re half the work force. You’re out-earning your husbands.”

1:35pm: Optimism – “Things will get better, because they always do.”

1:34pm: Obama getting serious – economic downturn, availability of jobs, denial of equal pay, loss of reproductive rights.

1:31pm: Obama jokes about Sasha and Malia graduating, being a Columbia College grad, the sibling rivalry between BC and CU, past speakers Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, and Sheryl Sandberg, and the dark days of the Eighties in New York.

1:28pm: OBAMA TAKES THE PODIUM! White House, Barnard, CSPAN!

1:26pm: “WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS!” -DSpar *not a direct quote*

1:21pm: And DSpar presents President Obama with his citation. Barnard gave the President a book of wisdom from the Class of 2012 for Sasha and Malia and a collection of books by Barnard alumni for he and the First Lady.

1:18pm: Evan Wolfson, attorney and marriage equality activist…

1:13pm: Helene D. Gayle, physician, Barnard alumna, and humanitarian…

1:08pm: Presentation of the Barnard Medals of Distinction to Sally Chapman, Barnard professor of chemistry…

1:01pm: Academic reflections from Danielle Lerner – starts off addressing Mr. President, quotes from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, anecdotes from Chemistry class.

12:59pm: The Class of 2012 has raised $7,000 so far to benefit the Bear Essentials Fund to help Barnard students afford college!

12:50pm: SGA President Jessica Blank’s heart-warming and honest speech. Shout-out to the New York Yankees and Giants!

12:44pm: Greetings from the Senior Class President, Jaclyn D’Aversa. “With all due respect Mr. President, you’re lucky no Barnard women are running for President.” Obama smiles and whispers to DSpar, “It’s true!” CHEERS to that!

12:40pm: Greetings from Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Am I the only one with goosebumps???

12:39pm: DSpar takes the podium!

12:38pm: Commencement begins! Get in front of your computer screens and/or televisions!

12:37pm: PRESIDENT OBAMA IN COLUMBIA BLUE ROBES! SO PROUD!

12:31pm: DSpar and PrezBo spotted!

12:28pm: Professors and administration have started to file in after the last of the graduates. We’re getting close!

12:23pm: So many smiles and laughter – Class of 2012, enjoy your day!

12:08pm: The video feed is up, and the graduates are making their entrance! Cue “Pomp and Circumstance.”

11:13am: An unofficial source has just informed me that President Obama has landed at JFK. This just got real.

10:35am: Checking Twitter, I realize Anderson Cooper is in Turkey today. Well there’s one hope dashed…

10:32am: Settled into Altschul Auditorium in SIPA with the press. It’s pretty empty right now, but everyone looks like legit journalists.

Photo courtesy of Pat Dollard.

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