Stanford’s 128th Commencement Weekend

Stanford Stadium
Stanford Commencement ceremony at Stanford Stadium. (L.A. Cicero)

Stanford will celebrate the graduates of the Class of 2019 during Commencement Weekend, which begins this evening, Thursday, June 13, with Senior Dinner on the Quad and ends with a host of diploma ceremonies and receptions on Sunday afternoon.

The main event, the 128th Commencement, will take place Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Stanford Stadium. During the program, the Stanford Chamber Chorale will perform “America the Beautiful” and “The Stanford Hymn.”

Baccalaureate, a multi-faith gathering led by students, will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday in the historic Main Quad. Stanford Taiko, a student group dedicated to the art of Japanese drumming, and Stanford Talisman, a student a cappella group that performs songs from around the world, will perform.

This year, Stanford will award 1,850 bachelor’s degrees, 2,410 master’s degrees and 1,051 doctoral degrees, according to preliminary numbers released this week.

The festivities are expected to attract 25,000 to 30,000 visitors.

Commencement ceremony

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple and a prominent voice on ethics in technology and business, will give the 2019 Commencement address.

Cook joined Apple in 1998 and the company’s board of directors named him CEO in August 2011. He has used his position as one of the world’s most prominent executives to speak up on privacy, advance tools to empower users with data about their screen time and address other implications of emerging technology.

In announcing Cook’s selection as the 2019 Commencement speaker, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said:

“Tim Cook has spoken forcefully of the challenges and responsibilities confronting corporations and our society today. In tackling these, he has led with vision and values – qualities that reflect the culture of our Stanford community and that are top-of-mind for our students and our country. Tim was a natural choice to challenge and encourage our graduates as they leave our campus and find their own paths in the world.”

During the Commencement ceremony, nine members of the Stanford community, including faculty, students and staff, will receive 2019 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores Awards.

The Commencement ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be webcast live on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The ceremony will also be broadcast live on Stanford radio station KZSU FM 90.1 and on A recording of the main ceremony will be available on Stanford’s YouTube channel following the event.

Following Commencement, individual schools and departments will host diploma ceremonies and receptions – indoors and out – across campus.

Baccalaureate ceremony
Ibtihaj Muhammad, an activist and entrepreneur whose participation in the Olympics provided her a platform to give voice to marginalized communities and encourage resiliency in the face of challenges, will speak at Stanford’s 2019 Baccalaureate.

At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games, Muhammad became the first Muslim to wear a hijab while competing for the United States and won a bronze medal with the women’s sabre team. Away from fencing, which focuses on the individual, she has turned a spotlight on communities and the importance of breaking barriers and building bridges. She graduated from Duke University with a dual major in international relations and African studies and, in 2016, was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

In announcing Muhammad’s selection as the Baccalaureate speaker, the Rev. Dr. Tiffany Steinwert, dean for religious life at Stanford, said: “Although she has competed in a sport that focuses on the individual, Ibtihaj Muhammad has turned the spotlight on diverse American communities, inviting us to reconsider what it means to be part of this pluralist and, at times, fractured nation. Standing at the intersections of gender, religion and ethnicity, she inspires us all.”

Graduating senior Edan Armas, a poet and spoken word artist, will give the student reflection at Baccalaureate. Armas, a native of Roseville, Illinois, is earning a bachelor’s degree in human biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences. Armas won a speaker contest judged by the senior class presidents and leaders from the Office for Religious Life.

“We admired Edan’s charisma and the authenticity of his language,” said Senior Class President Tashrima Hossain. “His speech captured the tribulations and triumphs of the Stanford experience.”