Speakers and Honorands

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christopher Howard

Dr. Christopher Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College and a Rhodes Scholar who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and later earned a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan, is the keynote speaker and will receive an honorary degree.

Senior Class Speaker: Nicole Malli '15, majors in anthropology and history, minor in museum studies

Nicole Malli '15 of Urbandale, IA, is the senior class speaker. After Ripon, Malli will pursue her master's in anthropology with an emphasis in international development at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


Distinguished Educator: Kane Krummel, biology teacher at Stratford Junior-Senior High School

Kane Krummel, a biology teacher at Stratford Junior-Senior High School in Stratford, WI, is the 2015 Distinguished Educator. Krummel was nominated by Kamelle Van Der Leest '15 for the positive impact he had on her life.

Schedule of Events

Friday, May 15, 2015

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Ripon College Bookstore Special Commencement Hours

3:15 p.m.: Senior Class Photo, Tri-Dorms Lawn (Rain site: Bear Auditorium)

4-5:30 p.m.: Senior Rehearsal, Bear Auditorium, Farr Hall of Science

Saturday, May 16, 2015

8 a.m.-9 p.m.: Ripon College Senior Art, Lobby, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Ripon College Bookstore Special Commencement Hours

The following Academic Receptions are for graduating majors, minors and their families:

1-2 p.m.: Communication, The home of Professor Steve '96 and Michelle Martin ’98, 629 Woodside Ave.

1-2:30 p.m.: Psychology/Psychobiology, Evans Center

1-3 p.m.: Biology/Chemistry-Biology/Psychobiology/Environmental Studies, The McCullough Family Lounge, Farr Hall of Science

1-3 p.m.: Chemistry/Chemistry-Biology/Physics: The home of Barbara '68 and Dr. Cris Johnson '69, 646 Lincoln St.

1-3 p.m.: Politics & Government and National Security Reception, Faculty Lounge, East Hall

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Religion, Mihaly Room, S.N. Pickard Commons

1:30-3 p.m.: Philosophy, Todd Wehr Lounge, First Floor

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Business Management/Economics, Ripon College Museum, West Hall

2:30-3:30 p.m.: English/Art/Music/Theatre/Educational Studies, Lobby, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts

3-4:30 p.m.: German/Romance and Classical Languages/Classical Studies, The home of Professor Eddie and Astride Lowry, 646 Woodside Ave.

4-5:30 p.m.: President’s Reception for graduates and their families, faculty and staff, Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union (RSVP Required)

5:30 p.m.: Reception for honorary degree recipients and guests, Upper Level Lobby and Pickard Dining Room, S.N. Pickard Commons

6 p.m.: Dinner for honorary degree recipients and guests, Dahm Heritage Room, S.N. Pickard Commons

8-9 p.m.: Baccalaureate Service, An interfaith service featuring senior speakers and musical performances, First Congregational Church, 220 Ransom St. (RSVP Required)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Ripon College Bookstore Special Commencement Hours

9:15 a.m.: Phi Beta Kappa Induction, Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union

9:15 a.m.: Pre-brunch Reception for honorary degree recipients (HDR brunch 9:45 a.m.), Mihaly Family Room, S.N. Pickard Commons

10 a.m.: Senior Brunch and Forum, A discussion featuring the honorary degree recipients, moderated by President Zach P. Messitte (RSVP Required: Free for graduates, $15 for guests of graduates)

  • Brunch served until 10:30 a.m. for graduates, families, friends, Trustees, faculty and staff, S.N. Pickard Commons
  • Forum from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

12:45 p.m.: Commencement Procession Assembly, Graduates will line-up on the sidewalk between East Hall and Todd Wehr Hall (In case of inclement weather, graduates should meet in Aylward Hall, J.M. Storzer Physical Education Center)

1:30 p.m.: Commencement Ceremony, Harwood Memorial Union Lawn (In case of inclement weather, to be held in Wyman Gymnasium, J.M. Storzer Physical Education Center)

Post ceremony reception: Smith Hall Lawn (In case of inclement weather, to be held in Aylward Hall, J.M. Storzer Physical Education Center) (RSVP Required).

General Information

Where is the Commencement rain location?
Commencement will be held Sunday, May 17, whether it rains, sleets or snows. Though most of us would prefer a warm day filled with bright sunshine, the weather has been known to provide challenges in the past. Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. ceremony is planned to take place on the lawn of Harwood Memorial Union. If the weather turns sour, however, a decision will be made Sunday morning about whether to move the ceremony to inside the J.M. Storzer Athletic Center.

Should the conditions be questionable, an update about the location of the ceremony will be posted by 10 a.m. on the College’s Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as the College’s official website (

In Wisconsin, May weather can be balmy or downright frigid. More often than not, it is both on the same day. Please be prepared for changes in temperature by dressing in layers. The ceremony generally lasts an hour and a half, so it may be 50° F and cloudy at the beginning and 70° F and sunny by the end, or vice versa. Nothing compares to an outdoor Commencement ceremony at Ripon, and, if at all possible, the ceremony will be held on the Union lawn as scheduled. So dress appropriately for any changes in the weather.

Where can I park?
Free parking is available on the streets surrounding the Union; however, spots will fill fast and early. Click to view our visitor parking map. Off-street parking, denoted on the map by a P, is available in lots behind Smith Hall, on Thorne Street, at the corner of Seward Street and Woodside Avenue and off Ransom Street across from East Hall. Handicapped-accessible parking, denoted on the map with an H, is available near the Union, outside Pickard Commons and at Evans Admission Center. Handicapped parking also will be marked on Seward Street. If the ceremony is held inside the J.M. Storzer Athletic Center, free parking is available in adjacent lots and on Union and Thorne streets.

Is accessible seating and parking available?
Accessible seating and parking is available for the Commencement ceremony. Please ask an usher if you need special assistance. Individuals requiring special assistance should call the Office of Constituent Engagement at 920-748-8126 by May 8 to ensure appropriate accommodations.

When do I need to leave the residence halls?
The residence halls will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 17. All students must have their belongings removed and be checked out before that time. Students are reminded that they may donate unwanted items as part of the “Lighten Your Load” program, May 5 to 12.

Do I need a ticket to attend the Commencement ceremony?
There are no tickets for the Commencement ceremony. Seating is first-come, first-served. While seating will be available outdoors, there are also plenty of grassy areas, and guests are welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs. If the ceremony is moved indoors, seating will be more limited; so guests should plan to arrive early.

When and where is Commencement rehearsal?
Graduates are reminded to attend the Commencement rehearsal at 4 p.m., Friday, May 15, in Farr Hall’s Bear Auditorium. Be sure Dean Roy pronounces your name correctly!

When and where is the Senior Class photo to be taken?
Seniors are reminded to show up for the class photo at 3:15 p.m. Friday, May 15. A group photo of the Class of 2015 will be taken on the lawn in front of Tri-Dorms. Rain site is Bear Auditorium. Photos will be distributed by the Office of Constituent Engagement at rehearsal Friday afternoon, May 15.

Will Starbucks be open on Sunday, May 17?
“We Proudly Brew” Starbucks, located in the lower level of S.N. Pickard Commons, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Starbucks offers hot and cold beverages, snacks and other refreshments.

What's the Baccalaureate Service? Is it religious? Who should attend?
Each year, the College includes an interfaith religious service as part of its Commencement weekend activities. Typically held the evening before Commencement, this year’s baccalaureate service will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at First Congregational Church of Ripon, 220 Ransom St. The ceremony is created by officers of the graduating class and the religion department.

The service does not focus on any one religious faith, but rather includes readings from each of the different religious traditions represented within the senior class. Musical selections are performed by students, and a brief address also is given by an individual chosen by members of the graduating class. First Congregational Church of Ripon has long been a good neighbor of the College. Its members contributed significantly to the founding and financial stability of the College in its early years.

All graduating seniors and their families are invited to attend this free event, as are the faculty and staff of the College.

What's the policy on honor cords?
In past years, the College prohibited the wearing of any cords or stoles other than College honor cords and Phi Beta Kappa stoles. Starting last year, all departmental honor cords, Greek stoles and other accoutrements (within reason) are now allowed during the ceremony. Those items, however, will not be provided by the College or listed in the program.

About the Theme

The Liberal Arts and Military Leadership

The liberally educated are effective and ethical decision makers. They analyze evidence, dissect cause and effect relationships, carefully consider consequences, and think and act strategically in service of a goal. They are not afraid to challenge the viability of a plan. At the same time, they are never afraid to question the validity of a goal. Thus, a hallmark of the liberally educated is the instinct to ask not only “can we do it?” but also “should we do it?”

A liberal arts education has value when applied in any area of life, but perhaps nowhere is the value of this educational philosophy as critical as it is in the field of military leadership. As a society, we depend upon our military leaders to make decisions that will serve our national interests. Those decisions are never easy and, in the field of combat, are rarely presented with the luxury of significant time for reflection. Instead, our military leaders are challenged to make quick and also accurate choices that simultaneously risk and safeguard the lives of our men and women in service. They are challenged to devise and enact operations that will decisively defeat enemy forces, while also respecting and, to every extent possible, protecting the lives of civilians who live behind enemy lines. We expect our military leaders to make decisions of enormous consequence for all of us, in fact for the entire world. We expect them to make these decisions carefully, with full awareness not only of our goal, but of every possible consequence of their actions. Yet, at times, in the worst of times, we ask them to make these decisions almost instantaneously in the midst of chaos, when the goal is at stake, when lives are imminently at risk, when their own lives are on the line.

The hallmarks of a liberal arts education are of great value to a military leader. A military leader educated in the liberal arts is of great value to our society. We, as citizens, need military leaders who are effective decision makers and also ethical decision makers. We need military leaders who are courageous and also compassionate. We need military leaders who are warriors and who are wise. And our military leaders need us to be wise, too; they need us to be knowledgeable about world affairs, fully engaged in the political process, and aware of the consequences of our decisions as voters. Ultimately, we determine if our military leaders will go to war. Their lives are in our hands, just as our lives are in theirs.

Ripon College graduates have a distinguished and honorable tradition of military service. We are proud of the College’s thousands of men and women who have bravely served the nation, and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice, throughout our 163-year history. Today Ripon College has a nationally recognized ROTC program and a military leadership minor that incorporates coursework requirements in history, politics and government, foreign languages and culture.

Our Commencement Theme for 2015, “The Liberal Arts and Military Leadership,” celebrates the role the liberal arts play in cultivating effective and ethical military leaders and also in preparing our students to be engaged citizens who appreciate the power and consequences of their votes and their voices.

Physical Address: 300 W. Seward St. Ripon, WI
Mailing Address: PO Box 248 Ripon, WI 54971-0248
Phone: 800-947-4766
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