Legendary singer to deliver Baccalaureate address to graduates and their families
Geneva, N.Y. – The singer known for her stunning interpretations of “Both Sides Now” and “Amazing Grace” will visit the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus to deliver the Baccalaureate address to seniors and their families on Saturday, May 11, and to receive an honorary degree from the Colleges at Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 12. The public is welcome to join the graduates and their families for the Baccalaureate ceremony. [Please note that there will be no parking at the Field House. Guests are asked to park elsewhere and walk the the ceremony.]
Collins, who in the fall made an appearance on “CNN’s Larry King Live” to perform “Amazing Grace” in commemoration of the police officers, fire fighters and volunteers who saved so many lives on September 11, was selected as Baccalaureate speaker largely for her activism over the years in aid of others. Collins has recently introduced two new Judy Collins Signature Edition guitars, in six and 12 string versions, and royalties from the sale of the guitars will be split between two of Collins’ favorite organizations, UNICEF and Amnesty International.
Collins has celebrated more than 40 years in the recording business with 37 albums, 10 Top10 hits, Grammy nominations, and gold and platinum status. Her early musical background was in classical piano, by age 10 she was studying with her mentor Antonia Brico, the famed orchestral director. At 13 she made her public debut performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but she soon became fascinated with the lyrics in songs by such artists as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and moved from the Steinway to the guitar. She played clubs across the country, eventually signed with Elektra Records, and worked with such well-known artists as Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.
Truly the definition of a living legend, Collins’ influence in music and in politics has spread over decades. From the time she discovered folk music, to her current new albums, television specials and the creation of her new label, Wildflower Records, to her work with UNICEF and Amnesty International (among other charitable and political affiliations), Collins has remained a creative and vibrant artist.
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Baccalaureate Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, in the Robert A. Bristol Field House on Routes 5 and 20. In addition to Collins’ address, Baccalaureate exercises include an invocation by the Colleges’ Chaplain Lesley Adams, readings from various religious texts, brief comments by President Mark D. Gearan and the deans of the Colleges, and song.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y.—the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The Colleges, which have a combined enrollment of 1,800, offer a remarkably broad array of majors and minors, with a cross-disciplinary flavor intended to better inform both professional and intellectual pursuits. The Colleges are noted also for an ambitious emphasis on international study and for their programs in community service. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities and curriculum, but maintain separate dean’s offices, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions.
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