Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler awarded 513 Bachelor of Arts degrees to the members of the Class of 2018 on Monday, May 21, and seven Master of Arts in Teaching degrees at a ceremony on Armstrong Quad with Pikes Peak in the background. Tony Award-winning producer Nancy Nagel Gibbs ’71 gave the Commencement address, and she, David Buck ’83, Frieda Ekotto ’86, and Peggy Fleming Jenkins ’70 were awarded honorary degrees.
In introducing the Class of 2018, President Tiefenthaler noted that this is the first class to complete their theses in the new Tutt Library, the largest carbon-neutral academic library in the country. The class also is the first to experience the opportunities offered by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, as the college’s alliance with the Fine Arts Center became official last July, and the first to fully engage with and utilize the Butler Center, which was formed four years ago to advance CC’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
President Tiefenthaler also noted that the Class of 2018 has been active in working on mental health issues and helping to break the surrounding stigma; has a record number of Community Engagement Scholars; expanded the CC Prison Project; collaborated with the local nonprofit Dream Outside the Box to propel at-risk youth onto a higher education trajectory; played a critical role in elevating the dialogue on diversity and inclusion at CC, helped found the Queer People of Color Collective and Conversations on Whiteness; and promoted multicultural understanding by hosting celebrations of Diwali, Dia de los Muertos, Chinese New Year, and the Native American Student Union powwow.
Gibbs, introduced by Celia O’Brien ’18, gave a keynote address titled “Advice from the Players,” in which she traced the sometimes circuitous path that led her from Colorado College to where she is today. She has been a producer, general manager, and company manager for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and international productions for more than 40 years. Her producing credits include “Peter and the Starcatcher” (nine Tony nominations and five Tony Awards), “Come from Away” (Tony nomination), “Bat Boy: The Musical” (Lortel Best Musical Award), “Fun Home” (Tony Best Musical Award), and many others. Gibbs co-founded 321 Theatrical Management, whose credits include Broadway productions of “Wicked,” “Oh, Hello,” “The Graduate,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Bring it On: The Musical,” among many other national and international productions. She is the recipient of the rarely given Edith Oliver Award for Service to Off-Broadway and serves on the boards of the New Professional Theater, the Roger Rees Awards, and the American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern University.
Buck, M.D., M.P.H., is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Family & Community Medicine and an adjunct professor at University of Texas School of Public Health and Rice University’s Department of Sociology. After working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, he began working with the underserved in Houston, developing medical and dental clinics for the indigent population.
Ekotto is chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and professor of comparative literature at the University of Michigan. An intellectual historian and philosopher with areas of expertise in 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone and Francophone literature and in the cinema of West Africa and its diaspora, she concentrates on contemporary issues of law, race, and LGBTQI issues.
Click to download this short video featuring Professor Ekotto receiving an honorary degree