Baccalaureate (pronounced “bak-uh-lawr-ee-it”) at Stanford is a celebratory gathering for graduating seniors, graduate students, and professional students, as well as their families and friends. It is a time to acknowledge the spiritual contribution to the education of the whole person, and it is organized under the auspices of the Office for Religious Life.
LIMITED SEATING, NO TICKETS REQUIRED.
Marian Wright Edelman, renowned activist and advocate for the disadvantaged, will give the Baccalaureate address.
“We are delighted to welcome Marian Wright Edelman as the 2017 Baccalaureate speaker,” said Jane Shaw, Stanford dean for religious life. “Beginning with her work in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, her founding of the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973, and her ongoing work to reform government policies, she has been and remains a powerful voice for women, children and families, especially the most disadvantaged in society. We believe her example of activism and compassion will resonate with our graduates and the Stanford community, and we look forward to welcoming her to campus.”
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children;and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.She is married to Peter Edelman, a Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. They have three sons and four grandchildren.
Student Speaker Contest
Since 2005, the Office for Religious Life has hosted a student speaker contest, where a graduating senior offers his/her reflections into their own spiritual journey during their time at Stanford, including hopes and dreams for the future for the entire class.
2017 Winner: Emma Coleman (International Relations and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity)
Emma Coleman hails from Chicago, IL, and will be earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. In Chicago, she was involved in the slam poetry and social justice community through her work with Young Chicago Authors. Since coming to Stanford, she has dedicated herself to serving the student community. She has served as Resident Assistant in Muwekma-Tah-Ruk and Haus Mitt, serves on the 2017 class cabinet, and is the Mental Health and Wellbeing co-chair of the ASSU Executive Cabinet. She is passionate about furthering racial justice through policy reform; her thesis, Sentencing Pregnancy, explores how sentencing reform can bring about greater community healing for pregnant women of color in the criminal justice system. In the future, Emma hopes to work at the intersection of policy and the arts, specifically, how art can be used as a political change agent.
Past winners, and available texts or videos, are listed below.
2015 Winner: Shelby Sinclair (Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity)
2014 Konstantine Buhler (Management Science and Engineering)
2013 Jonathan York (International Relations)
2012 Tara Gu (Public Policy)
2011 Samuel Gould (Biology)
2010 Zaid Adhami (Philosophy, Religious Studies)
2009 Sohail Razzaq (Economics, Management Science & Engineering (MS))
2008 Barry W. Fischer (Economics, Civil and Engineering (MS))
2007 Nikki Pareno Serapio (Political Science)
2006 Marley Cade Kornreic (Economics, International Relations)
2005 Jazib Zahir (Electrical Engineering)