Class of 2017 Receives Degrees at CalArts Graduation

On Friday (May 12), 420 CalArts students walked across the stage to receive their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate’s degrees in Fine Arts during CalArts graduation.

Artistic Director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Glenn Edgerton and CalArts President Steven D. Lavine, who steps down from his post this month after 29 years, received honorary degrees at the ceremony.

In his speech, Lavine mentioned the many luminaries who have received honorary degrees from CalArts, including choreographer Trisha Brown and the late filmmaker Chantal Akerman. “It gives me pleasure just to name these names,” he said. “This is the CalArts I love. I am humbled to be in their company.”

Lavine and Edgerton also imparted advice to the graduates during their respective speeches. “Be generous,” Lavine said. “We are all imperfect mixes of strengths and weaknesses. Don’t give up on anyone before they’ve had a chance to play to their strengths. When there’s an opportunity to help someone, do so.”

Edgerton told the graduates to not to fear failure: “Liberate your imagination and fill it with fearlessness for today, for tomorrow and every day forward. I call on you to be the liberated artists you are.”

In parting, Lavine told the gathered crowd, “Janet [Sternburg, his wife] and I enjoyed our time together with you. We really have. And wherever we go after this, CalArts will always be in our hearts and our minds.”

After the ceremony, graduates, friends and families attended a reception in the Main Gallery. Above are selected photos from the celebration.

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