Most seniors and their parents are clear about the meaning of Commencement, the occasion which celebrates graduates' academic achievement by the awarding of diplomas. Baccalaureate is less familiar as many students did not have such an event at their high school.
At Baccalaureate, Earlham celebrates the importance of the whole journey that students and faculty have undertaken together. It is an occasion to reflect on the joys and struggles of the past four years, and to celebrate the growth of students and of their mentors.
Reflecting the Quaker nature of the College, Baccalaureate at Earlham incorporates elements similar to those found in programmed Friends Meetings for Worship — typically opening and closing prayers, reading(s), hymn(s) which everyone is invited to sing, a prepared message by a speaker from the faculty, time(s) for silent worship and reflection and song(s) by the Baccalaureate Choir (made up of seniors, faculty, staff, alumni and community members). Baccalaureate also includes aspects of academic ceremony such as the processional and recessional (seniors and faculty walking in together at the beginning and out at the conclusion).
The College strives to make it an occasion of worship and centering for all who are present. Many seniors, faculty and staff find Baccalaureate to be a significant event as they seek closure for their time together in these four years at Earlham.
- 2020, James Logan, Associate Academic Dean, Professor of Religion, Professor and Director of African & African American Studies, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies, "Who Are You Class of 2020?: An Open Letter Concerning Holding Fast & Moving Forward In A Viral Time...And Beyond"
- 2019, Maggie Thomas, Associate Professor of Experimental Social Psychology and Faculty Director of EPIC Programs, "Teaching Old Dogs"
- 2018, Ryan Murphy, Assistant Professor of History and Women's, Gender, Sexuality Studies, "Imagining a World beyond Work"
- 2017, Joanna Swanger, Program Director and Associate Professor of Peace & Global Studies, "The Labor of the Lost Cause"
- 2016, James Logan, Professor of Religion, Professor and Director of African and African American Studies, National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies,
“A (lacixodaraP) World of Fire and Peace”
- 2015, Nelson Bingham, Professor of Psychology, "Are We There Yet?"
- 2014, James Logan, Associate Professor of Religion, Associate Professor and Director of African and African American Studies, and Second Year Class Dean, "A World Yearning for Your (Sometimes Funky) Love"
- 2013, Bob Rosenberg, Professor of Biology, "Conformational Change"
- 2012, JoAnn Martin, Professor of Anthropology, "The Art of Falling Into the Future"
- 2011, Andrew Moore, Assistant Professor of Geology, "The Tao of the Ant Guy"
- 2010, Joanna Swanger, Program Director and Assistant Professor, Peace & Global Studies, "The Tyranny of Certainty"
- 2009, Chuck Yates, Professor of History, "Chuck's Top Ten Secrets to a Long, Happy, Useful, Productive and Meaningful Life"
- 2008, James Logan, Assistant Professor of Religion Assistant Professor of African & African American Studies, "A (Not So) Simple Word of (Audacious) Hope"
- 2007, Caroline Higgins, Professor of Peace & Global Studies and History, "The Monster and the Riddle"
- 2006, Steve Heiny, Professor of Classics, "Was It Good for You?"
- 2005, Vince Punzo, Professor of Psychology, "Just Isn't So."
- 2004, Robert Johnstone, Professor of Politics, "What Does It Matter To Me?"
- 2003, Gordon Thompson, Professor of English, "If I Forget You..."
- 2002, Steve Heiny, Professor of Classics, "Playing Good Books, Reading Good Roles"
- 2001, Paul Lacey, Professor of English, "Sayings and Slogans"
- 2000, Lincoln Blake, Professor of English, "Gamming on the Green"
- 1999, Mary Lacey, Assistant Professor of English, "1999 Baccalaureate Address"
- 1998, Vince Punzo, Professor of Psychology, "Little by Little"
- 1997, Barbara Caruso, Professor of English & Women's Studies Coordinator, "The Words We Wear: Talking and Walking"
- 1994, Stephen Butler, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, "1994 Baccalaureate Address"
- 1992, Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy, "When We Leave Our Desks"
- 1991, Barbara Caruso, Professor of English & Women's Studies Coordinator, "On Being Redundant: Freedom Is Not Once"
- 1989, Stephen Butler, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and African and African-American Studies, "The Kitchen Drawer"
- 1987, Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy, "Becoming Free"
- 1985, Stephen Butler, Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies, "1985 Baccalaureate Address"
- 1983, Barbara Caruso, Assistant Professor of English & Women's Studies Coordinator, "The Difference Between Poetry and Rhetoric"
- 1980, Stephen Butler, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, "Acting on the World"