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Commencement and Baccalaureate speakers

Mount Holyoke’s first senior class graduated on August 23, 1838. That occasion and subsequent graduation celebrations have included a formal program in which a distinguished guest gave an inspirational address to students, teachers and visitors. In many instances, the main Commencement speaker was granted an honorary Mount Holyoke degree. The practice of a senior also addressing the gathering began in 1994. Since 1885, the Commencement ceremony has been preceded by a Baccalaureate Service at which faculty members, administrators and guests address the seniors and their guests.