Class of 2023 commencement preview

With commencement just around the corner, The Chronicle asked for submissions and created this gallery to capture the Class of 2023's excitement and anticipation. 

The Class of 2023 has had a most unique four years at Duke. From attending college through a global pandemic to watching the Duke undergraduate experience change right before them, this class has seen it all. The Chronicle is here to celebrate their accomplishments in preparation for Commencement on Sunday with this year's graduation preview.

Below, you’ll find a revisiting of the years the Class of 2023 spent at Duke, reflections from Duke seniors, a look at this year’s honorary degree recipients and more.

1. Seniors reflect on their time at Duke

By Holly Keegan

First-year students play with dogs at a Sunday event planned by two faculty-in-residence: legendary former Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek and Zbigniew Kabala, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Wasiolek, the faculty-in-residence in Gilbert-Addoms dorm, said she’s held the event for years as a way to help students relax as the semester draws to a close. “Dogs seem to do that for us,” she said, adding that this year’s event featured masks, social distancing and dog treats.

Seniors reflected on the community they built and the personal growth they've experienced ahead of graduation.

2. First Year: 2019-2020

A quiet campus on an unusual LDOC
On a usual LDOC, students would gather on Abele Quad for a concert and other festivities. In 2020, a sign reminded the reader to stay distanced from others.

The Class of 2023's first year on campus started out normally, but ended with students being sent home during the spring semester.

3. Sophomore Year: 2020-2021 

The Class of 2023's sophomore year was the beginning of a new normal, with its members studying from Durham and around the world.

4. Junior Year: 2021-2022

Countdown to Craziness is the inaugural event of the year for Duke basketball.

The Class of 2023's junior year was hallmarked by changes to Duke's housing system, an unforgettable basketball season and a return to near-normalcy. 

5. Senior Year: 2022-2023

LDOC BC Plaza Morning

During the Class of 2023's senior year, Duke announced its Climate Commitment, while student groups struggled. 

6. Meet this year's honorary degree recipients 

By Ishani Raha and Andrew Bae

Honorary Recipients 2023
Top left: Branford Marsalis. Top right: Deborah Rutter. Bottom left: Susan Solomon. Bottom right. Darren Walker. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Duke will award honorary degrees to four individuals who have made important contributions to their fields, ranging from climate science to the arts.

7. Meet this year's commencement speaker

By Senou Kounouho

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Trinity '84, at a Sept. 29, 2022 talk at the Duke Law School.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Trinity '84, at a Sept. 29, 2022 talk at the Duke Law School.

Adam Silver, Trinity '89, will be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2023. In his speech, he plans to tell students that their Duke experience is only just beginning.

8. Upcoming commencement events

By Michelle Brown

Commencement 2017 students together

From the main commencement event in Wallace Wade Stadium to doctoral hooding ceremonies, here are the ways Duke is celebrating those graduating in 2023.

9. The Class of 2023's graduation photos

Ian Acriche, Lana Gesinsky, Nancy Beaujeu-Dufour, Ben Chipman, Kendall Likosar
Courtesy of Jack Muriaka


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