Class of 2020 Returning for a Commencement on the Green

News subtitle

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Geeta Anand ’89 will speak at the Aug. 6 ceremony.

Class of 2020 in front of Dartmouth Hall
The Class of 2020 in their first gathering in September 2016. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

At long last, members of the Class of 2020 will be able to celebrate their graduation live and in-person on the Green on Saturday, Aug. 6.

The ceremony takes place more than two years after the class marked its graduation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual degree ceremony that streamed across the country and around the world.

“Two years ago Dartmouth promised the Class of 2020 that when we were able, we would welcome them home to Dartmouth,” says Vice President for Alumni Relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82. “I am delighted that we are able to make good on that promise this summer. They have been wonderful to work with, and we are all committed to making this a wonderful, memorable occasion for the class and their families.”

On Aug. 5, members of the Class of 2020 and their families and friends are invited to a welcome reception and a candlelight ceremony. Other activities are planned for Aug. 6 after the ceremony. A committee of class members worked with Alumni Relations to plan the weekend.

On Saturday, the morning ceremony on the Green will feature the traditional elements of a Dartmouth commencement, complete with regalia, bagpipes, a procession, remarks from President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and others, music, and the announcement of the graduates’ names as they walk across the stage.

More than 600 undergraduates—just over 50% of the class—and a handful of graduate and professional school students have made plans to return for the celebration. A gift from an anonymous donor is underwriting housing fees for the returning graduates throughout the weekend.

Tickets are not required for family and friends, but organizers request that all guests be registered in advance. A schedule of events and information on how to register is available on the Class of 2020 commencement website.

Geeta Anand ’89, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author and dean of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, will deliver the keynote address.

Geeta Anand
Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand ’89 will be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2020 next month. (Photo by Wesaam Al-Badry)

“As a reporter, educator, and leader in higher education, Geeta Anand has dedicated her life to reporting stories of great importance and to making room for more diverse voices in our media,” says President Hanlon. “At a moment when ‘alternative facts’ and disinformation are tearing at our social fabric, her example shows how crucial good journalism is to a functioning civil society.”

Anand began teaching at Berkeley Journalism in 2018 and was appointed dean in 2020—the first woman and the first woman of color to lead the journalism school. Before that, she spent nearly three decades as a journalist, beginning as a local reporter for Cape Cod News and Vermont’s Rutland Herald. She went on to write for The Boston Globe as City Hall bureau chief and covering the Massachusetts Statehouse before joining the staff of The Wall Street Journal, and, later The New York Times, covering a wide variety of beats from politics to biotech and serving nearly a decade as an international correspondent based in India, where she grew up.

Her reporting on corporate corruption contributed to a Pulitzer Prize for The Wall Street Journal in 2002, and her lead story on health care rationing was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. Among other honors, she earned the Society of Publishers of Asia best breaking news reporting award for her coverage of a 2017 terror attack in Bangladesh and the Daniel Pearl Award for the best cross-border investigative journalism from International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for her coverage of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

In 2010, Anand’s nonfiction book, The Cure—about a family’s efforts to find a cure for their terminally ill children—was adapted into the 2010 film Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford.

As an undergraduate, Anand majored in history and earned a certificate in women’s studies. “I wrote a few articles for The Dartmouth,” she said in an interview, “but it was the academics that prepared me for my career.”

In addition to Anand and Hanlon, Class of 2020 president Tim Holman ’20 and class orator Sabyne Pierre ’20 will also address the gathering. After the ceremony, members of the class will gather for a photograph, followed by a celebratory barbecue.

Hannah Silverstein