Helen Vendler, the A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard and a world-renowned scholar of poetry written in English, will be the commencement speaker at Colby College in Maine on Sunday, May 25. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the lawn in front of Miller Library and the public is invited. Vendler will address more than 500 members of Colby’s Class of 2003, their families, the faculty and guests.

Lisa M. DeKeukelaere will lead the procession of seniors as class marshal. DeKeukelaere of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., is the daughter of Karl and Susan DeKeukelaere and is a mathematics major. She holds the highest grade point average after seven semesters.

Evan McGee of Edmonds, Wash., was elected senior class speaker. McGee is a physics and computer science double major. He has been involved in a cappella, improv and theater performances at Colby.

Vendler is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Swedish Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a past president of the Modern Language Association. She is the author of critically acclaimed books on Yeats, Keats, Herbert, Stevens, Shakespeare and Seamus Heaney, and she reviews contemporary poetry for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic and The London Review of Books. Vendler is a former director of and a regular participant at The Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland, and has been a visiting scholar at major universities in the United States, England and Ireland. She holds 16 honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States, England and Ireland.

At Colby’s commencement honorary degrees will be presented to Vendler; Clifford Geertz, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study and one of the world’s leading anthropologists; Edward N. Lorenz, professor emeritus of meteorology at MIT and founder of the science of chaos theory; Sonia Picado, a parliamentarian in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and former president of the National Liberation Party; and Peter Ralston, a widely published and honored photographer and executive vice president of Maine’s Island Institute.

Seating is provided for invited families and friends of graduates. Others may wish to bring lawn chairs. Tickets will be required if weather requires moving the program to the Alfond Athletic Center. The event will be webcast live at

Note: A digital photo of Helen Vendler can be obtained from Alicia MacLeay ([email protected] or 207-872-3220) or by clicking on the image above to get a high resolution image to download.