Kate Carlisle (

President David A. Greene will present bachelor of arts degrees to approximately 480 seniors at Colby College’s 196th Commencement Sunday, May 21. The ceremony, which will feature Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the commencement speaker, will begin at 10 a.m. in front of Miller Library and will be streamed live. It is open to the public, weather permitting.

Sharing the lectern with Biden will be senior class speaker Muhebullah Esmat, an art history major from Kabul, Afghanistan. Esmat, who has curated art exhibitions and worked at the Colby Museum of Art as a Mellon Program research assistant, was chosen by vote of the senior class.

Amy Walter ’91, national editor of The Cook Political Report and one of the nation’s most highly regarded political analysts, will address the graduating class at baccalaureate Saturday, May 20. Baccalaureate, an event open only to graduating seniors, celebrates graduates’ ties to the College and serves as an important moment for the faculty, administration, and trustees to acknowledge the students’ accomplishments and contributions.

Walter and Biden will receive honorary doctorate degrees along with Yoshihiro Takishita, a noted architect and historic preservationist, and Warren Washington, a lauded research scientist and climate change expert.

Members of the Class of 2017 came to Colby from 36 states and 42 countries. The class includes 49 members of Phi Beta Kappa, a Fulbright grant winner, and a Davis Projects for Peace winner. Approximately two-thirds of the class have studied abroad in more than 40 countries. The majority of graduates have completed internships and significant research, and they will go on to a broad range of careers and to competitive graduate or professional schools to study law, education, finance, medicine, nonprofit leadership, among other disciplines.

Michelle Boucher of Fryeburg, Maine, recipient of Colby’s Condon Medal for engaged citizenship, will be the only student award winner acknowledged at commencement. A psychology major and sociology and human development double minor, Boucher was described by Greene earlier this month as “a committed advocate, organizer, and leader.”

Tickets will be required for the family seating area. Attendees who are not family members of graduates are asked to bring their own chairs. In the case of rain, tickets will be required for admission to the gymnasium in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center and there will be an overflow simulcast available in the field house. Any notice of location change will be posted at, as will the link to a live webcast for those unable to attend. The event will also be streamed live on Facebook.

Members of the media who plan to attend, need information, or wish to arrange an audio feed during the ceremony should contact Kate Carlisle in the Office of Communications at or 207-859-4369. Advance notice and Colby-issued press credentials are required of all members of the media and must be requested on or before Friday, May 12.