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."
Commencement Video Gallery