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New York Times Journalist Rebecca Corbett and Harold Alfond Foundation Chairman Gregory Powell will also be honored


President David A. Greene will present bachelor of arts degrees to approximately 480 seniors at Colby College’s 197th Commencement Sunday, May 27. The ceremony, which will feature U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins 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.

Internationally acclaimed artist Theaster Gates will deliver the baccalaureate address May 26. One of the most admired, influential, and innovative figures on the contemporary arts scene, Gates has shown his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Biennial, and the National Gallery of Art. In April he was named the first distinguished visiting artist and director of artist initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art.

Gates will be granted an honorary degree as will alumna Rebecca Corbett ’74, P’09, assistant managing editor of the New York Times, who led the team of reporters who broke the story that ignited the #MeToo movement and a broad cultural shift around issues of sexual misconduct, and Gregory W. Powell P’15, chairman and CEO of the Harold Alfond Foundation, whose vision and leadership have transformed the lives of countless Maine people, notably in Colby’s city of Waterville, Maine. Collins, one of the nation’s most influential legislators, received an honorary degree from Colby in 2014.

Members of the Class of 2018 came to Colby from 38 states and represent 45 countries. The class includes 49 members of Phi Beta Kappa, three Fulbright grant winners, a Davis Projects for Peace winner, and a Watson Fellowship winner. Approximately two-thirds of the class has 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.

Marnay Avant ’18 of St. Louis, Mo., was elected by her peers to be the student speaker. A sociology and African-American studies major who is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Avant plans to participate in Teach for America before enrolling in graduate school. Adrienne Carmack ’18 of Veazie, Maine, will receive the Condon Medal, which recognizes a graduating senior’s citizenship and is the only student award noted at commencement. Carmack is an education studies: human development and a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies double major with a minor in data science. She was elected into Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year.

Attendees who are not guests 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.

During Commencement Weekend, a portion of Mayflower Hill Drive bisecting the Colby campus will be closed to traffic. Between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26, the road will close for approximately 15 minutes for a fireworks display. On Sunday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., thousands of pedestrians will be crossing the road in front of Miller Library and north and south closures will be in effect.

Members of the media should request press credentials by Friday, May 25, via email to or 207-859-4350. Parking for the media will be located behind the Swenson-Schair-Watson Alumni Center, and credentials will be available in the lobby of that building. A designated media area will be provided adjacent to the stage.