Commencement ceremonies at Lawrence University have changed in the years since the first ceremony was held in 1857. In early decades, ceremonies featured orations and performances by members of the graduating class. A guest was first invited to deliver an address in 1894. Between this time and about 1980, these addresses were delivered by prominent clergy, presidents of the college, faculty members, or other invited guests. Since about 1980, Commencement addresses have usually been delivered by one or more of that year's honorary degree recipients.

 

+ 1894-1919

1894 - Rev. C. B. Wilcox

1899 - Bishop Samuel Fallows

1904 - Bishop Samuel Fallows

1905 - The Rev. Thomas E. Greene

1906 - The Rev. George Elliott

1907 - The Rev. William A. Quayle

1908 - The Rev. Camden M. Cobern, Litt.D.

1909 - The Rev. Richard Wilkinson

1910 - The Rev. S. Parks Cadman

1911 - The Rev. Frank Gunsaulus

1912 - The Rev. E. Y. Mullins

1913 - The Rev. Solon Bronson

1914 - The Rev. Archey Decatur Ball

1917 - The Rev. Frank Gunsaulus

1918 - Dean Edwin Herbert Lewis

1919 - The Rev. Harold Hough

+ 1920–1939

1920 - The Rev. Merton Rice

1921 - The Rev. Ernest F. Tittle

1924 - The Rev. Charles W. Gilley

1925 - Charles Clayton Morrison

1926 - Henry M. Wriston [President of Lawrence College, 1925-1937]

1927 - Henry M. Wriston [President of Lawrence College, 1925-1937]

1928 - Henry M. Wriston [President of Lawrence College, 1925-1937]

1929 - The Rev. Francis John McConnell

1930 - Wilfred B. Shaw

1931 - Marvin B. Rosenberry

1932 - The Rev. Charles W. Gilley

1933 - The Rev. Ernest F. Tittle

1934 - Douglas Horton

1935 - Guy S. Ford

1936 - Albert Britt, LL.D.

1937 - Anton Julius Carlson, LL.D.

1938 - Gordon J. Laing

1939 - George Clarke Sellery

+ 1940–1959

1940 - Max Carl Otto

1941 - Ralph Washington Sackman

1942 - Lloyd Kirkham Garrison, LL.D.

1944, February - Robert Nelson Spencer

1944, October - John Whitter Darr

1945 - Stanley Pargellis, LL.D.

1946 - Carl Frederick Wittke, LL.D.

1947 - Gordon Rufus Clapp, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1927, trustee]

1948 - Theodore Christian Blegen

1949 - Harry Fletcher Lewis

1950 - Daniel S. Defenbacher, D.F.A.

1951 - Charles Edwin Odegaard, L.H.D.

1952 - Payson Sibley Wild, Jr., LL.D. [Trustee, 1956-1963]

1953 - Conrad Arnold Elvehjem

1954 - John Schoff Millis, LL.D.

1955 - Paul Judson Braisted, L.H.D.

1956 - Douglas M. Knight [President of Lawrence College, 1954-1963]

1957 - Douglas M. Knight [President of Lawrence College, 1954-1963]

1958 - Douglas M. Knight [President of Lawrence College, 1954-1963]

1959 - Ben W. Heineman, LL.D.

+ 1960–1979

+ 1980–1999

1980 - Senator William Proxmire

1981 - William Kunstler

1982 - Martha Henry, D.F.A.; Francis Hugh Ruddle, D.Sc.

1983 - Mary Edmonds, D.Sc. [Milwaukee-Downer Class of 1943]; Andrew Knight, LL.D.; George H. Weyerhaeuser, LL.D.

1984 - Natalie Zemon Davis, L.H.D.; Nenah E. Fry, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1955]; David Campbell Mulford, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1959, trustee]

1985 - Donald Ervin Knuth, D.Sc.; Michael C. J. Putnam, LL.D.

1986 - Edwin Richard Bayley, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1940]; John Wilson Lewis, LL.D.; Gus A. Zuehlke, LL.D.

1987 - Dimitri Hadzi, D.F.A.; Sheila Evans Widnall, D.Sc.

1988 - Joseph Charles Kennedy, L.H.D.; Thomas Dominic Nicholson, D.Sc.

1989 - Dale Eldred, D.F.A.; Omar Shakespeare Pound, L.H.D.

1990 - Maynard Mack, L.H.D.; Patricia K. Ritter, LL.D.; Janos Starker, D.F.A.

1991 - David S. Broder, LL.D.; Eugene M. Lang, LL.D.; Robert C. Marcellus, D.F.A.

1992 - George F. Keane, LL.D.; Anne Hazard Richardson, LL.D.; Janet Dempsey Steiger, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1961]

1993 - James P. Comer, LL.D.; Ardis Krainik, D.F.A.

1994 - Jacqueline K. Barton, D.Sc.; Dale L. Duesing, D.F.A. 1994 [Lawrence University Class of 1967]

1995 - Gwendolyn Brooks, Litt.D.; Richard W. Dodson, D.Sc.; Miriam Schapiro, D.F.A.

1996 - The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., L.H.D. [Scarff Professor 1995-96]; Lynn Martin, LL.D.; Robert A. Seiple, LL.D.

1997 - Douglas J. Bennet, Jr., LL.D.; Charles Breunig, L.H.D. [Professor Emeritus of History]; Henry Louis Gates Jr., L.H.D. [Trustee]; H. Nicholas Muller III, L.H.D.; Sister Joel Reed, L.H.D.

1998 - The Hon. Shirley S. Abrahamson, LL.D.; Richard Holbrooke, LL.D.; Henry M. R. E. Mayr-Harting, L.H.D.

1999 - James H. Billington, L.H.D.; Alfred W. Lerdahl, D.F.A. [Lawrence University Class of 1965]; Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Litt.D.

+ 2000–2020

2000 - Shirlee Emmons, D.F.A. [Lawrence College Class of 1944]; Lorrie Moore, Litt.D.

2001 - Theodore L. Steck, D.Sc. [Lawrence College Class of 1960]; His Grace Bishop Kallistos Ware, L.H.D.

2002 - Chen Yi, D.F.A.; Roy Lukes, D.Sc.

2003 - Oscar C. Boldt, LL.D.; Patricia Hamar Boldt, LL.D. [Lawrence College Class of 1948]; Bruce H. Iglauer, D.Mus. [Lawrence University Class of 1969]; Edmund S. Morgan, L.H.D.

2004 - John S. Carroll, LL.D.; Jonathan F. Fanton, LL.D.; Stanley Fish, L.H.D.; Samantha Power, L.H.D

2005 - John C. Harmon II, D.F.A. [Lawrence College Class of 1957]; Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., LL.D. [Trustee]; Richard Warch, L.H.D. [President of Lawrence University, 1979-2004]

2006 - Richard Franke, L.H.D.; Catherine Tatge, D.F.A. [Lawrence University Class of 1972]

2007 - Louis Butler, L.H.D. [Lawrence University Class of 1973]; Margaret Carroll Ed. D. [Lawrence University Class of 1961]

2008 - Barbara Lawton, LL.D. [Lawrence University Class of 1987]; Alanna Heiss, L.H.D. [Lawrence University Class of 1966]

2009 - Bob Herbert, L.H.D.

2010 - Thomas Arthur Steitz [Lawrence College Class of 1962]

2011 - Russ Feingold, L.H.D.

2012 - Anton Valukas, LL.D. [Lawrence University Class of 1965]

2013 - Martha Nussbaum, L.H.D.

2014 - Charles Gibson, L.H.D.

2015 - John R. Lewis, L.H.D.

2016 - Lan Samantha Chang, L.H.D.

2017 - Gil Loescher, L.H.D.

 

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