For Immediate Release
Bill Cosby Addresses
Colgate Class of 1999
HAMILTON, NY (MAY 16, 1999) " Comedian Bill Cosby delivered the final lecture to Colgate University's Class of 1999 today, and when he had finished his address to the college's 178th annual commencement he hugged and greeted each of the 677 members of the class individually as they received their Bachelor of Arts degrees.
Wearing a maroon Colgate baseball cap from which hung a gold tassel, Cosby doffed his black gown to reveal sneakers, warm-up pants, and a Colgate sweatshirt. His message was salted with lessons of humility and perspective: "College teaches matriculation, not maturity," for example. "Your rooms are as filthy today as they were when you graduated from high school. And we want them cleaned up."
Or, "You're healed. Walk. On your own. You're out of here. You can't sit around anymore. J.O.B."
The graduates, he observed, were classified in the program "summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, and then there are the 'thank you laudes.'"
"Today you will sing the alma mater for the last time " at these prices," he said.
Pointing stage right, Cosby explained to the graduates, "That's the off ramp, and when you step off there you will be in the real world." Then he took a position beside the ramp and wished each graduate well as they crossed the stage to receive their degrees.
The college, situated among the rolling hills of rural central New York, had prepared for an additional 2,500 guests to accommodate interest in Cosby. He was greeted enthusiastically by the graduates, faculty, family and friends. Colgate's graduation was held outdoors under sunny skies, alongside Taylor Lake on the college campus
The College presented honorary doctorates to Cosby; Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry Hillman; "I Have Dream" Foundation founder Eugene Lang; composer and music director Tania Le--n; psychohistorian Robert Jay Lifton (who delivered the morning's baccalaureate address); astronaut Story Musgrave; sociologist William Julius Wilson; and Colgate President Neil Grabois who, after 11 years at the college, leaves June 30 to become vice president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Class of 1999 had chosen Grabois to receive the annual senior award during a Friday all-class luncheon, and they and their guests cheered his honorary degree with a standing ovation Sunday.
Among the students who received Bachelor of Arts degrees was Rhodes Scholar Antonio Delgado from Schenectady, NY. Also graduating were Churchill Scholar Michael Neidig (McAlisterville, PA), Watson Fellow Tanner Johnson (Walnut Creek, CA), and Fulbright Scholars Jennifer Erickson (Green Bay, WI), Eric Lewin (Del Mar, CA) and Kjersti Nichols (Vorheesville, NY).
Adonal Foyle, who left Colgate in 1997 after his junior year to play basketball for the NBA Golden State Warriors, completed his degree requirements this spring and returned to the college to participate in today's ceremony, receiving his Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude (with high honors).