On Saturday, May 11, 348 seniors will graduate from Central College. The baccalaureate service, a gathering of the class, will begin at 3 p.m. in Douwstra Auditorium. A wine and cheese reception for the senior class, hosted by Central College President Mark Putnam and his wife Tammy, will be held in the Bornt Plaza and Graham Annex at 4 p.m. The commencement ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. in H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse.
Central College has selected two speakers for the day. Mark Putnam, Central College president, will address the class of 2013 at baccalaureate.
“In the new baccalaureate ceremony format this year, I’m excited we are able to provide another connection for students and faculty to come together as a class to celebrate accomplishments,” Putnam said. “Our integrated approach to learning across disciplines is now woven into our celebrations at the end of our students’ time at Central College.”
Bernadette M. Allen will speak at commencement. Allen will also receive an honorary degree from Central during the ceremony.
A 1978 graduate of Central College, Allen completed her 30-year Foreign Service career in the United States diplomatic corps in 2010. She has served as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Niger as well as in other overseas postings in Burundi, The People’s Republic of China, The Republic of the Philippines and Canada, as well as temporary duty assignments in Haiti and Japan.
Allen also served in several positions in Washington, D.C., notably the Bureau of African Affairs and the Bureau of Consular Affairs. She speaks fluent French and maintains conversational ability in Mandarin Chinese and Hausa.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Civilization and Linguistics from Central College in 1978. Allen earned a French language certificate from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, in May 1977. She has also obtained her master’s in human resources management from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Central College awarded her its 2008 Alumni Achievement Award.
“I am elated to have been invited to serve as Central’s 2013 commencement speaker,” Allen said. “I hope to not only use part of my personal story to inspire the graduates to chart their own respective paths but also to encourage them to explore unanticipated opportunities that may materialize along the way. My experiences at Central as a double major in linguistics together with French civilization and, notably, as a Paris study abroad program participant, aided my development of leadership skills and cultural awareness central to a career in U.S. diplomacy.”
At commencement, the Chamber Singers—a 16-member chorale ensemble chosen from the larger A Cappella Choir—will perform “Hymn to Central Youth” and “The Lord Bless You.”
Watch the Central College commencement ceremony streamed live online at www.central.edu.