LEWISTON, MAINE - Brianna Karboski, of Williamstown, graduated after majoring in biology and geology at Bates College. Karboski, the daughter of Michael J. Karboski and Luciette E. Karboski, is a 2017 graduate of Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School.
Karboski graduates as a member of Sigma Xi, an honor society that recognizes excellence in scientific research.
Bates College graduated 469 students from 38 states and 43 countries on May 27, 2021.
The 2021 commencement was a doubleheader, with students split by where they fell in the alphabet between morning (A-K) and afternoon (L-Z) ceremonies in order to allow for social distancing among the graduates and their guests. It featured introductory remarks by President Clayton Spencer, who lauded the students for their response to the pandemic and its restrictions. “Your perseverance allowed us to keep the college operating safely, and your lives moving forward, in the face of some pretty high hurdles,” Spencer said.
There were four recipients of honorary degrees: Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who was born in Lewiston; Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German; Americana musician and ethnomusicologist Rhiannon Giddens; and ACLU lawyer and trans-rights activist Chase Strangio. Each delivered remarks via recorded videos.
In keeping with the doubleheader aspect of this unusual commencement, two seniors were selected by their peers to give speeches, Nicole Kumbula ‘21 of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe in the morning, and Munashe Machoko ‘21 of Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe in the afternoon. In her speech, Kumbula invoked the Bates custom of holding the door for a fellow Bates person, a gesture both practical and symbolic, of “someone willing to wait a bit, just to make sure the door is open wide enough so that I can enter into the space with them - or at times even before they do.”