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Back in the Day

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One year’s photo of gowned Arts and Science graduates can appear like that of any other year—except for the hairstyles, shoes, glasses and of course, the statistics. Take a look at Commencement in past years as seen through the pages and lenses of campus media and photographers. (Facts and stats are from Commencement 2011.)

  • 18,000 programs printed
  • 43 faculty marshals used to organize graduates and faculty
  • 75+ volunteers
  • 27,550 chairs and 27 tents set up
  • 18,000 bottled water containers for guests and graduates
  • 300+ recycling containers
  • 20,000 hand fans distributed
  • Estimated 17,000–20,000 graduates, guests and faculty on Alumni Lawn
  • In the 2010 ceremonies, a graduate’s name was called every 3.8 seconds (adding one second to each name would add 26 minutes to the event).

(1) Vanderbilt Alumnus, Vol. 45, No. 5, May–June 1960;

(2) Commencement program, 1932;

(3) Vanderbilt Magazine, summer 2008;

(4) Vanderbilt Today, Vol. 23, No. 1, summer 1983;

(5) Vanderbilt Today, Vol. 27, No. 3, summer 1988;

(6) Vanderbilt Register, Vol. 15, No. 31, May 6–19, 1996;


(7) Vanderbilt Alumnus, Vol. 26, No. 8, June 1941;

(8) Faculty Senate Chair Mildred Stahlman, professor of pediatrics; Chancellor Alexander Heard; Board of Trust President Sam Fleming and former Board President William Vaughn, 1975;

(9) Awarding of Arts and Science degrees, Commencement 2010.

photo credit: Images reproduced courtesy of Vanderiblt University Special Collections and Archives. Statistics courtesy of the Commencement Office.

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