Graduates patting the bronze Boomer statue

On Saturday, May 11, 2019, Dean College will hold its 153rd Commencement. Times have changed since Dean’s founding in 1865, but our traditions still live on. 

Read on to learn more about the unique traditions that make up this time-honored ceremony.

  1. Commencement Exercises. Commencement is a tradition in and of itself! Each year, members of the Dean Community come together to recognize graduating students for their extraordinary accomplishments, both in and out of the classroom. The procession starts off at 10:45 a.m. in the campus center as faculty and staff applaud the students as they pass over the bridge inside.
  2. 50th Society. You may notice several individuals in yellow robes. These are members of the 50th Society, valued alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. Each year, these members return to campus to participate in Commencement activities and to induct the newest class, those celebrating their 50th Reunion. This year they will be inducting graduates of the class of 1969.  
  3. Student Speakers. Members of the Dean Community select student representatives to speak on behalf of the graduating class. Selections are based on recommendations, academics and an overall commitment to Dean College. This year, Fatima Naidjate has been selected as the student speaker! 
  4. Boomer. That’s right! Even Boomer makes an appearance at Commencement. Each graduate, faculty and staff member can be seen patting a bronze statue of Boomer on the head during procession into the ceremony.
  5. Student Performances. In the early 1900s, pageants and more complex performances were a feature of every Commencement celebration. Today’s Commencement ceremonies include musical performances by Dean’s very own graduating students.
  6. Distribution of Diplomas. You may notice a few different faces on stage when diplomas are granted. Dean allows any College staff or faculty member the opportunity to give their graduating student a diploma at Commencement. Be on the lookout You may see some unexpected faces on stage this year!

Remember to check out these traditions on Saturday. Congratulations, Class of 2019!

For more information on Commencement, visit