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Phillips Academy Class of 2017 graduates

313 students earn diplomas

June 05, 2017 —Eager to pursue the bright future before them, the 313 members of the Class of 2017 graduated Sunday, June 4, in a sun-filled commencement ceremony, the school’s 239th.

Some 3,000 guests attended the exercises, which took place on The Vista in front of Samuel Phillips Hall. The traditional procession of trustees, faculty emeriti, faculty and seniors was led by the stirring sounds of the Clan MacPherson Pipes and Drums Bands. The jubilant seniors each carried a red Abbot rose.

Commencement

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Jewish Chaplain Rabbi Michael Swartz provided the opening invocation, which was followed by a moving rendition of “America” performed by the Academy Brass Ensemble. Thomas Hodgson, instructor of philosophy who retires this year, led the initiation ceremony of the Cum Laude Society.

Head of School John Palfrey announced the five major prizes awarded to outstanding members of the graduating class:

  • Nadha Illikkal – Non Sibi Award – to the student who has honored Phillips Academy’s non sibi (not-for-self) tradition through their efforts on behalf of others
  • Alexa Tsay – Yale Bowl – to the member of the senior class who has attained the highest proficiency in scholarship and athletics
  • Siye “Annie” Zhu – Faculty Prize – for outstanding scholarship during the senior year
  • Madison Pettaway – Madame Sarah Abbot Award – to a young woman for strong character, leadership and outstanding scholarship
  • Abdelaziz “Zizo” Bahnasy – Aurelian Honor Society Award – for sterling character, high scholarship and forceful leadership

School Copresidents Arthur Paleologos and Madison Pettaway delivered the senior address.

For his commencement address, Palfrey focused on the principle of character and the responsibility each graduate carries forth in upholding Andover’s values as defined in the school’s founding charter.

John Palfrey Commencement Speech

Joshua Steiner '83 P'17 '19 Baccalaureate Speech

“Though not defined the way it once was by a strict form of Calvinism in 1778, it means something to have graduated from Andover – to embrace the aspects of character that we have in mind for you. We mean that we agree to value the presence and the strength of youth from every quarter – that we value being a need-blind school, one that espouses the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We mean Finis Origine Pendet – that the end depends upon the beginning – that your education is foundational and that it matters for its own sake. We mean that we value goodness with knowledge – “that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.”

Commencement Weekend Social Timeline

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  • Amy Morris, Director of Media Relations
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