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Baccalaureate ceremony crowd
Saturday, June 14, 2014 - 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Limited seating; no tickets required

A bookend to students' Opening Convocation held four years earlier, Baccalaureate at Stanford is a multifaith celebratory gathering for graduating seniors, graduate students, and professional students, as well as their families and friends. It is a student-led commemoration acknowledging the spiritual contribution to the education of the whole person, organized under the auspices of the Office for Religious Life (ORL). In addition to lively music from culturally diverse backgrounds, the program includes readings from different communities and perspectives which represent the wide range of religious traditions are represented within the ORL by over 30 organizations of Stanford Associated Religions (SAR). Stanford's Baccalaureate Celebration is a multi-faith, student-led service for graduating students, their families and friends.

Baccalaureate Keynote Speaker

Norman Fischer is a Zen Buddhist priest whose teaching and writing is known for its informality, openness, and eclecticism. A former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, the oldest and largest Buddhist institution in the West, he is the founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation, a network of spiritual communities and projects in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, that brings zen practice to contemporary professions and institutions, including the law, caring for the dying, business, and the tech world. He is also co-founder, with the late Rabbi Alan Lew, of Makor Or, a Jewish meditation center in San Francisco. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Fischer began publishing poetry in the late 1970’s as part of a San Francisco Bay Area group of experimental writers. The latest of his fifteen collections are Conflict (Chax Press 2012), and The Strugglers (Singing Horse Press, 2013).  His translation of the Hebrew psalms, Opening to You, published by Viking Compass in 2002, is widely read in both Jewish and Christian circles. His most recent prose works are Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls (Simon and Schuster 2008) and Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong (Shambhala 2013). He lives in Muir Beach California with his wife Kathie, a biology teacher and expert scuba diver. They have two grown sons who live in Brooklyn. For more information about Norman Fischer, poetry, essays, talks, downloads, schedules see

Baccalaureate Student Speaker

Be the only student speaker during commencement weekend at Stanford's Baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday, June 14 in the Main Quadrangle.

Graduating Seniors!

How have your experiences at Stanford - personal, moral or spiritual - shaped who are you are today and how can your reflections INSPIRE your classmates as they embark upon the next chapter of their lives? To apply:

  • Speech cannot exceed 600 words
  • Entries accepted now through Sunday, May 4, 11:59 PM
  • No exceptions to the deadline
  • Submit your speech in Word format at: baccalaureatecontest.fb
  • Finalists will be contacted by midnight on Wednesday, May 7 and MUST be available for auditions on Friday, May 9 between 12:00-2:00 PM
  • $500 prize will be awarded to the winner

Previous speeches available at Questions? Contact