Yale’s faculty in the arts and sciences have always had a prominent role in the annual conferral of university degrees. Commencement exercises begin with the academic procession, led by members of the faculty and administration who are appointed to serve as marshals.
On May 22, 2017, the 316th edition of Yale Commencement, members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—both of them long-serving colleagues who are retiring this year—were selected to fill two of the most visible processional roles. Craig Wright, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor in the Music Department, who joined the FAS faculty in 1973, served as senior marshal. Frank Snowden, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of History and a member of the FAS since 1975, was the Corporation marshal.
As described in the program of ceremonies, “The senior marshal of the faculty carries a mace presented to the university in 1948 by Loomis Havemeyer, Ph.B. 1910, Ph.D. 1915. It is believed to be an eighteenth-century Dutch bandmaster’s baton. The shaft is of wood with a richly decorated silver knob.” Meanwhile, “The Corporation marshal’s mace is a heavy ivory knob with a brass shield inset, bearing the engraved inscription ‘Horace Andrews from Class 1841.’ In that era, each class selected its ‘Bully’ or chief defender and supplied him with an appropriate weapon for use in riots, as well as at class rushes and social occasions. Andrews served as the ‘Major Bully’ of his class until the end of the second term of his junior year.”
After the FAS Dean’s Office was established in 2014, Dean Tamar Gendler commissioned the creation of a coat of arms to signify the FAS (see sidebar: The FAS Shield). Commencement 2017 marked the first time that a faculty marshal representing the FAS—Stephen Darwall, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy and outgoing chair of the Department of Philosophy—joined the academic procession alongside colleagues serving as marshals for Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. Darwall carried a heraldic banner emblazoned with the FAS shield.
To view more images of the FAS faculty during Commencement 2017, view our Photo Gallery HERE.
-Reported and written by Alison Coleman for the FAS Dean’s Office