Campus News

This Week in Photos: Graduation and Illumination

May 17, 2021

Yvonne Gay

Alarge number od graduates sit 5 feet apart in a football field.
Members of the Class of 2021.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi

A sea of graduating seniors seated 6 feet apart in the middle of Dick Bailey Field serves as inspiration for this week’s photo series.

Two commencement ceremonies were held at the Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex this past Friday. The morning and afternoon exercises in the football field were a first for the college. Graduation had taken place in Tappen Square for decades, but with COVID-19 precautions in place, the field allowed for a more controlled setting. The two ceremonies also allowed for a reduction in crowd sizes.

Before each ceremony, seniors assembled in Williams Field House while the honor guard (consisting of faculty and staff) formed lines in a nearby parking lot for students to walk through. As guests cheered from the stands, graduating seniors were led from the lot and into the football field. The Class of 2021 is made up of 586 students. 

Although most Commencement/Reunion Weekend activities went virtual this year, some traditions remained, including Illumination. The lighting of the lanterns typically takes place in Tappan Square the day before graduation. This year the event was held in Wilder Bowl. Illumination is an Oberlin tradition that dates back to 1903.

View more images from this year’s graduation and Illumination on Oberlin’s Flickr page.

Three students wearing a cap and gown walk across a field.
Students file into Dick Bailey Field. Photo credit: Mike Crupi
A girl gets her wrist watch scanned.
A student has their GradPass scanned before joining peers onstage. Photo credit: Mike Crupi
A student and college president bump elbows on a stage.
President Carmen Twillie Ambar bumps elbows with a graduating senior. Photo credit: Mike Crupi
A string of planters in front of a building.
Sunset and lanterns glow in Wilder Bowl. Photo credit: John Seyfried 
Two people take cell phone pictures of lanterns.
Photo credit: John Seyfried


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