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The First Commencement

May 14, 2021

On May 14, 2021, we celebrated our first commencement at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in the same hallowed halls to which we welcomed our first students in the fall of 2017.

Founding Head of School Dr. Clayton Marsh opened the ceremony and Chris Broadus '21 read the poem "Praise Song for the Day" by Elizabeth Alexander as the invocation. Sara Orr '21 and Claire Wise '21 offered reflections on their time at Thaden, as well as well-wishes for the future. 

Terry von Thaden, the granddaughter of our namesake Louise Thaden and a distinguished scientist at the University of Illinois, inspired us with her commencement address. Catherine Low '21 and Nole Wade '21 then spoke about the many different hats the Class of 2021 has worn.

Diplomas were conferred and tassels were moved from the right to the left. Finally, Aidan Ayers '21 read the poem "Ithaka" by Constantine Cavafy as the salutation.

After the ceremony, families of our graduates received Bentonville heritage iris plants, a living symbol of their roots and wings. We sent the 28 members of the pioneering Class of 2021 into the world with our heartiest congratulations.

You can view the full recording of the ceremony below.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021. Together we fly!