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  • On May 20, 2011, Washington University celebrated its 150th ­Commencement exercises. Fashions may have changed over the years (as seen in photo from the 1908 Commencement), but the excitement of the occasion has never waned. (Courtesy Washington University Archives)

  • Commencement “Class Day,” 1906 (Courtesy Washington University Archives)

  • Female graduate, circa 1907–10 (Courtesy Washington University Archives)

  • Commencement held in the Field House, 1955 (Courtesy Washington University Archives)

  • Commencement, 1961 (Courtesy Washington University Archives)

  • Over the years, the distinctive gown that degree candidates wear has changed. Re-designed in 2003, the gown is green with black velvet trim and an embroidered university shield on both sleeves at the shoulder. (Courtesy Washington University Photographic Services)

  • To honor the diverse international heritage of the university’s graduating students, 66 flags (background), representing students' home countries, were hung on January, Ridgley and Duncker halls. (Courtesy Washington University Photographic Services)

  • Commencement is held each spring in the Quadrangle, surrounded by four of the university's oldest buildings: Brookings Hall, Ridgley, Cupples I and Busch. Beaumont Pavilion, the outdoor stage, was added in 1965. (Courtesy Washington University Photographic Services)

  • Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and human rights activist, delivered the 2011 Commencement address. (Courtesy Washington University Photographic Services)

  • In addition to planning events for “Senior Week,” Senior Class President Alex Kiles delivered the student speech at the 150th Commencement. (Courtesy of Washington University Photographic Services)

  • Alumnus James Fowler, AB ’68, MA ’70, MA ’72, has videotaped every Commencement ceremony since he received his third degree from the university in 1972. (Courtesy of Washington University Photographic Services)

  • Alumnus Michael Millenson, AB ’75, reconnects with Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth during the 2011 Commencement. While a student, Millenson was pictured with then newly appointed Chancellor Danforth in a 1971 issue of Washington Magazine. (Courtesy of Washington University Photographic Services)

Community in Pictures

Celebrating Commencement

On May 20, 2011, Washington University celebrated its 150th Commencement exercises. Fashions may have changed over the years (as seen in the photos above), but the ceremony and excitement of the occasion have never waned.

For more news and information on Commencement, including a link to replay the ceremony, visit For a complete transcript of Elie Wiesel's Commencement address, visit For Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s remarks to the graduating class, visit


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