President Hennessy writes to parents of seniors

September 2015

Dear Stanford senior parent,

Congratulations! Senior year has arrived and with it the excitement and anticipation that characterize the final year of college. Seniors finish work on a range of endeavors—from a capstone project or honors thesis to a performance or research presentation. At the same time, they prepare for the future. They may apply to professional or graduate school, consider a coterm or fellowship or apply for jobs.

Throughout the year, Stanford offers a wide range of services, resources and guidance to support them as they transition to career or graduate study. General information about applying for a fellowship or coterm program is available on the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education website. Advisors in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research can help with applications to professional or graduate school. The Bechtel International Center offers advice for students interested in applying for an overseas scholarship or fellowship.

The Career Development Center, recently renamed BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition, and Meaningful Work), is a terrific resource for students seeking employment. Career educators help students explore career paths, identify and apply for opportunities and cultivate personal networks. This year, the center launched Handshake, an online platform that connects students directly with employers, events and opportunities. Handshake is part of a new model of career services that will better meet the needs of today’s students.

Commencement is one of the highlights of our year, and this year, it will mark a milestone not only for your son or daughter but also for Stanford. In June we will hold Stanford University’s 125th Commencement ceremony. We look forward to celebrating with you.

We also invite you to enjoy Stanford’s lively Commencement ceremony, which begins with the “Wacky Walk” featuring graduating seniors, many in decorated caps and gowns. Stanford has made a tradition of its nontraditional graduation exercises, which honor both the academic excellence and the creative spirit of our students.

Commencement Weekend will be June 11-12, 2016. I recommend reserving accommodations early, since some 25,000 family members and friends join us on campus for the occasion. In the spring, we will email parents and students important Commencement-related information.

In closing, I want to thank you for your generosity and support of Stanford these past three years. More than 20 percent of Stanford parents have contributed to The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education. Parents of the Class of 2016 cumulatively have given more than $3,373,960. This is especially important given the increased need for financial aid. I thank you for your commitment to Stanford and your support of our students.


John L. Hennessy