Marlboro College

NewsPress Release -Fifty Graduating Seniors Will Receive Degrees at Marlboro College's 54th Commencement

MARLBORO, VT - Fifty graduating seniors will receive their bachelor's degrees during Marlboro College's 54th Commencement at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 20, in Persons Auditorium. Joseph Sebarenzi, former parliamentary speaker of the Republic of Rwanda, will deliver the commencement address.

Among the students to receive degrees are four residents of Vermont: Chris Putnam of Middlebury; Sarah Corey of Thetford; Kristina Lemay of Colchester; and Sokol "Koli" Shtylla of Brattleboro. Additionally, an honorary doctor of laws degree will be awarded to Vermonter Bob Gannett, community leader and former state representative and senator.

Sebarenzi, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws, has spent his life working to promote good governance and increased civil liberties, freedom and peace in Rwanda. During his three years in parliament as the popular Speaker of the National Assembly, Sebarenzi was respected by both Hutu and Tutsi leaders for his reconciliation efforts. He fearlessly opposed corruption and the rise of one-party rule in Rwanda.

Emmylou Harris, queen of country music, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the ceremony. Harris burst onto the national music scene in the 1970s, and has since produced 25 critically-acclaimed albums, a number of which have won Grammy Awards. Eight of her albums have sold over a million copies.. Since a 1997 visit to Vietnam and Cambodia, Harris has become one of the nation's most highly visible advocates for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

The Marlboro Class of 2001 will also be joined for the ceremony by Richard Taylor. A Marlboro trustee and steadfast supporter for the last 34 years, Taylor will be honored with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

All graduating Marlboro students must complete an in-depth, self-designed exploration of a field or fields of their own choosing, entailing significant independent scholarly or artistic work and one-on-one tutorials with faculty. Called the "Plan of Concentration," it is the cornerstone of Marlboro's unique academic program and culminates in a three-hour oral examination with Marlboro faculty and an outside examiner who is an expert in the student’s field.

Graduating student Ian Garthwait, a native of Orono, Maine, who has completed his Plan of Concentration in absurdist literature, was chosen by his classmates to give the senior address.

This year's diverse array of Plan topics also includes: research into how Alzheimer's disease affects brain biochemistry; a look at file-sharing applications and their impact on college campuses; a study of monasticism in the historical spread of Christianity in Europe; a study of psychology and adolescent development focusing on a program for at-risk adolescents; and a broad examination of globalization and the institutions and mechanisms that support it. Two students wrote original novels as part of their Plans of Concentration. Thirty-five percent of the seniors studied abroad for credit, compared with the national average of four percent.

Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers its 300 undergraduate students a 7:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community, and a strong foundation in the liberal arts. Marlboro is located in southern Vermont on a rural 350-acre campus. For more information on Marlboro and its Plan of Concentration, call 802-257-4333 or visit

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