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Penn Commencement 1993

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

Penn commencement 1993

The Penn Class of 1993 processes into Franklin Field for commencement, May 1993

Twenty-five years ago the Penn Class of 1993 celebrated their last week on campus as Penn students with a wonderful slate of activities for Senior Week. Then we participated in our first Alumni Day by marching down Locust Walk in the alumni parade of classes. After individual school graduation ceremonies during the weekend, the Baccalaureate service, and dinners with family and friends that were in Philadelphia for the celebration, we gathered in Super Block, processed through campus and down Locust Walk, and entered Franklin Field for the University’s 237th Commencement ceremony.

Penn Commencement 1993

The Senior Class Board gathers in Super Block. They will lead the class down Locust Walk and into Franklin Field

Classmates shared many photos with us, and this is only a selection from the day. It was the last Commencement ceremony for Penn President Sheldon Hackney as he left Penn to serve as the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He and wife Lucy were awarded honorary degrees. Our Commencement speaker was the new First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We were blessed with beautiful weather, a celebratory atmosphere and memories to last a lifetime.

As many of us are returning to campus this weekend to celebrate our 25th Reunion, we are looking back fondly at photos that trigger happy memories of our time at Penn and the lifetime friends we made at this very special University.

Classmate Brian Newberry stated beautifully why this time in our lives was so special and why we are returning to campus this weekend:

Reading the postings in this forum (our Penn Class of 1993 Facebook group) over the past several months and especially over the past few weeks as more and more people began sharing memories got me thinking about why a reunion like this has such appeal to so many. We had about 2,200 graduates in our class and close to a 1,000 or so are in this forum alone. I remember once years ago, it may even have been just after graduation, flipping through the yearbook and doing a very rough count of how many people in our class I actually knew. It was around 300 – and I used a very generous definition of “knew” – so it isn’t because most of know most of us.

Even the postings in here show how different so many of us were and are, with our lives taking all kinds of various paths since 1993 never mind the fact that an urban school with 9,000 undergraduates has so many silos it was easy to get lost in them as students and never cross paths with most of your fellow classmates in the first place.

So what is it? Why the appeal to suddenly get together for a few days with some old friends plus a cast of strangers? That age, late teens to early 20s, regardless of background, is the crucible of what makes someone into who they are for the rest of their lives. Each and every person you experience that with becomes, in their own way, special to you, even if you never see them again. Likewise, anyone who shared that same environment with you, even if you didn’t know them, shares a kinship forever and that bond has some type of magical appeal.

Relationships and experiences. That is what matters most in life, something I hope we all realize by this age. … It is inevitable in the human experience I suspect regardless of what you spent your time doing at that age. All of us, even if we have never met each other, share our own common experience from that same crucial era and what are memories except a chance to relive an experience, preferably a pleasant one and what is a reunion but a chance to make those experiences come back to life for a few days?

So I want to thank everyone who has contributed here and I genuinely hope to meet all of you at some point next weekend.

Enjoy this stroll down memory lane.

Maceo Grant shared this photo of him and his mom at the College graduation ceremony.

Penn College graduation 1993

College graduate Maceo Grant and his mother Doris Grant

Penn Commencement 1993

Looking back to Super Block as we walk over the 38th Street Bridge

Penn commencement 1993

The class processes over the 38th Street Bridge

After gathering in Super Block, we began to walk through campus on our way to Franklin Field. We passed by the reviewing stand with Penn President Sheldon Hackney, the honorary degree recipients and the Commencement speaker, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Penn Commencement 1993

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Penn President Sheldon Hackney on College Green watching the procession. Photo by Wendy Spander


penn Commencement 1993

First Lady Hillary Clinton photo courtesy of Wendy Spander

Penn commencement 1993

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton walks through the graduates on Franklin Field

Penn Commencement 1993

Graduates seated on Franklin Field

Penn Commencement 1993

The Penn Class of 1993



We can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years, and we can’t wait to celebrate with classmates and fellow alumni from across the decades this weekend.

Meet me at the Button!

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of May 4 – 5, marked 1 week until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!
  • Book your hotel room or AirBnB now! See our class website for details.
  • Tag all of your social media posts #penn1993 and #pennalumni!




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Filed under 25th Reunion, Alumni Weekend, Class of 1993, Commencement, Kiera R.

70 Years Since Graduating and He’s Still Got the “Hurrah!” for Penn

By Kiera Reilly, C’93 @KieraReilly

I always tell people that Commencement Day at Penn is the happiest day on campus, and this year, on May 19 as Penn celebrated its 258th Commencement, was no exception. In Alumni Relations, we help with the alumni processional portion of the event – alumni from every undergraduate class at Penn carry flags from their graduating year and march into Franklin Field after the graduates.

We arrive early in the morning, so we can “get robed” in our caps and gowns, and then wait for the alumni to arrive. The alumni robing is near the academic processional staging area, and I happened to be looking at President Gutmann and commencement speaker John Legend’s, C’99, chairs when the University Mace was delivered. Leslie Kruhly, the Secretary of the University, leads the academic procession carrying the mace.


The staging area for the academic procession. The University’s mace was just delivered.

Me and my colleague Casey Ryan, C'95. We lead the alumni procession down Locust Walk and into Franklin Field.

My colleague Casey Ryan, C’95, and I are robed and ready to go. We led the alumni procession down Locust Walk and into Franklin Field.

After everyone is robed, we wait a bit before we get the cue to begin. Here everyone is lined up waiting for the academic procession to pass.

The alumni procession waiting for the academic procession.

The alumni procession waiting for the academic procession.


Then we march down Locust Walk to the front of the Sweeten Alumni House. It was a beautiful day and everyone on campus was lining the walk cheering and clapping for the alumni.

Alumni flag bearers line Locust Walk to congratulate the newest Penn Alumni!

Alumni flag bearers line Locust Walk to congratulate the newest Penn Alumni!

The alumni flag bearers then line Locust Walk and wait for the graduates. The graduates march down Locust Walk through our line of alumni flags, and the alumni cheer, clap and congratulate the newest members of Penn Alumni.

Some graduates casually walk by, others pose for pictures with their friends, or their parents and family try to capture a candid moment of them walking to graduate. And in the midst of the several thousand graduates passing us by, at the front of the alumni flag line, was Harry Gross, W’44. Harry graduated in 1944, that’s seventy years ago for those of you having a bit of trouble with the math. He wore a fun Red and Blue hat, and as he sat in his chair holding the Class of 1944 flag, he was arguably the most popular man on Locust Walk. Yes, everyone wanted to wave to President Gutmann and take a selfie with John Legend, but Harry was the star.

Graduates thanked him for coming. They shook his hand, they said wow. And when they said congratulations, Harry simply replied, “Congratulations to YOU!” And then he told them that they’d be in his same spot in seventy years!

Me and Harry

Posing with Harry

Congratulations to Penn’s Class of 2014! We’ll see you in 2084 (and we hope every year in between).

Hurrah, Hurrah, for the Red and the Blue!

Commencement from the alumni flag bearer's view.

Commencement from the alumni flag bearer’s view.

Here’s Harry leading the alumni processional into Franklin Field.

Watch videos of President Gutmann’s commencement speech and John Legend’s address here (and also photos of the day).

See all the Penn Commencement tweets #PennGrad.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Class of 1993, Commencement, Kiera R., Notable Alumni, Photos