On Memorial Day morning, ominous clouds gave way to scattered sunshine during Oberlin's 165th Commencement, just in time to warm the nearly 700 shivering graduates who were lining up for their march to the future.

Wreaths of flowers encircled the heads of several smiling women who preferred to skip the traditional cap and gown to wear flowing dresses with bared feet in an abrupt throw-back to the '60s. Several young men, too, adopted the wreath as more appropriate headgear for the long-awaited event.

Shiny soap bubbles floated lazily over the crowd of nearly 5,000, launched by a young graduate patiently waiting to walk the stage.

1998 Class President Joy Mariama Smith stressed that the real world was just ahead--paying one's own bills, setting up a home, no longer relying on family support. She revived shared memories of the past four years to much laughter, and concluded her remarks to thunderous applause.

Parents and family members sat with gaily wrapped gifts and bouquets of roses, awaiting the final red-leather covered diploma to be delivered to the last member of the class of 1998.


Jerry Greenfield '73 (above) was one of the the four Honorary Degree recipients recognized at Commencement. Joining them were Damon Jerome Keith and F. Champion Ward '32, as well as Alumni Medal recipient and Commencement speaker Albert McQueen '52, and Distinguished Service to the Community Award recipient Francine Toss MAT '71. (See related story in this issue)