The 52nd Annual Eckerd College Commencement will take place at 8 a.m., Sunday, May 17, at South Beach Field on the campus under the largest tent of its kind in Florida.
A total of 520 students are expected to graduate—408 residential students and more than 112 students in the Program for Experienced Learners.
The commencement speaker will be Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey who later served as chairman of the 9/11 Commission. He also is a former president of Drew University. Kean earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Known as a consensus-builder, he is the author of The Politics of Inclusion, which advocates for political cooperation among major parties and competing interest groups.
Gov. Kean will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Russell Mittermeier, former president of Conservation International who discovered 12 hitherto unknown animal species, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science Degree. Mittermeier, who contributed to the conservation of some of the Earth’s most critically threatened places, will witness his son Michael graduate from Eckerd with a degree in Anthropology.
Graduates and their friends and family, who will begin gathering on campus at 7 a.m. for coffee and donuts, are encouraged to use the hashtag #Eckerd15 to share their photos on social media.
Doughnuts and coffee, beginning at 7 a.m., will be served adjacent to the field. Complimentary water will also be available for guests throughout the ceremony.
Eckerd 2015 Commencement By the Numbers
520 Total number of graduates
408 Number of residential graduates
112 Number of Program for Experienced Learners graduates
40 Number of states represented at graduation
13 Number of countries represented
30,000 Square feet of commencement tent
3,600 Number of Krispy Kreme Donuts ordered for commencement