Davidson College President Carol Quillen published an op-ed in the May 13 Wall Street Journal that describes the origin and charm of Davidson’s tradition of inviting only the college president to deliver brief remarks.
Quillen notes that by not inviting a big-name speaker to campus, the college keeps the ceremony brief—a significant consideration in the Carolina spring—and the graduates remain the focus of the ceremony.
“The faculty and staff who line the sidewalk where the students march know not only their names, but also their struggles, accomplishments and plans,” she writes. “This day is about students. Any speaker is a bit player.”