Perhaps the unusually coolmorning air enticed such a large group of gnomes (1) to the University's 118th Commencement. They scurried into Stanford Stadium among thousands of cavorting graduates who inspired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, '58 (2), flanked by President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy, PhD '82, to acknowledge at the start of his address that he had become "a willing and knowing accomplice in the Wacky Walk." The sense of jubilation was so large that, well, it seemed only fitting that Alex Gamble (film studies) and Elizabeth Buck (communication) would attend as sumo wrestlers (3). For the graduates—who added 1,735 bachelor's degrees, 2,039 master's degrees and 925 doctoral degrees to Stanford's history of achievement—the 25,000 or so family members and supporters in the stands were an impressive sight as well. Liz Schackmann (biology), Josh Taylor (computer science) and Kristen Lence (earth systems) (4) took a moment to gaze at the rows of well-wishers who had arrived from around the globe. Not just a tassel ornament (5), '09 was, at various punctuation points in the day, a robust two-syllable chant. MBA students Josh Cincinnati and Rick Thielke (6) sported signs of the times. And Kennedy gave all the students, whether in costume or part of the sea of caps and gowns (7), a charge to remember their duty as trustees of the freedom that brought them to Stanford. "Law and freedom are priceless," Kennedy said, "yet they become more valuable when we enable others to share them."

Rod Searcey
Rod Searcey

Rod Searcey

Rod Searcey

Rod Searcey

Rod Searcey

Rod Searcey




Commencement Video Gallery

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VIDEO: Another celebratory performance: (left to right) John Dryden, Andrew Levette, Justin Key, Robert Watkins and Rance Graham-Bailey.
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VIDEO: Led by Rebecca Hebner (sunglasses), one group adorned its gowns with white spots and spent much of the 2009 Wacky Walk toppling over in a neat row.
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VIDEO: As the Stanford Band exploded with post-Commencement energy, the 2009 graduates danced along (watch for appearances by Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny).
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VIDEO: When the formal 2009 Commencement ceremonies were over, the Stanford Band led a charge up onto the stage for a musical celebration.