For Greene County News
YELLOW SPRINGS – Antioch College celebrated commencement saturday – its first since 2008. Heavy rain forced festivities indoors Saturday, but the college conferred 21 students representing the Class of 2015 in the South Gym of Antioch’s Wellness Center.
Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a celebrated Civil Rights leader, businessman, lawyer, author, scholar, and close confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a powerful commencement address urging graduates to “not take their eyes off the North Star” in the fight against racism and oppression.
Dr. Jones traveled at the last moment from the Bay Area of California to replace previously scheduled speaker Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who was unable to attend graduation due to a family funeral. A letter from Congressman Lewis along with a resolution from Ohio Governor John Kasich are included with this release.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, family and Antioch alumni also heard remarks from Antioch Trustee David Goodman 1969, brother of Andrew Goodman, who along with James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner, was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Neshoba County, Miss. during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Local community group The World House Choir lent powerful pieces of music to the event and six student speakers outlined the ups and downs of recreating Antioch College – the only start-up, residential liberal arts college in America.
“Today, we celebrate the Class of 2015 and the diverse group of people who came together over the years to get us to where we are today,” said Antioch College President Mark Roosevelt. “This is an important and historic milestone for the College, Yellow Springs, and the greater Antioch community. Today’s commencement reminds us all that the hard work has been worth it and signals that Antioch College is officially back.”
This year, Commencement 2015 is part of a larger Reunion weekend. Hundreds of alumni have returned to Yellow Springs to reconnect, view the evolution of the College, and celebrate the Class of 2015. This weekend also represents the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commencement address to the Antioch Class of 1965. Reunion events will continue through tomorrow morning. Tonight, the College will hold a Celebration Dinner and President Mark Roosevelt will deliver his annual State of the College Address.
Antioch College is a 165-year-old start-up, determined to use its re-opening to build and scale a model for what the liberal arts experience can be for all students in the 21st century—not a four-year retreat from the world, but a deeper engagement with it. Originally founded in 1850, Antioch has long been an agent of disruptive change, having been the only liberal arts college in the country with a required work component for more than 100 years.