Chancellor, author Walter Isaacson to address Vanderbilt seniors

Chancellor at podium
Chancellor Zeppos at Commencement 2014 (Vanderbilt University)

Watch live streaming video of Commencement May 8 on the Vanderbilt homepage »

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will deliver the traditional Commencement address to graduating seniors May 8, the day after author Walter Isaacson speaks to them about leadership.

Commencement is 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 8, on Alumni Lawn. During the ceremony, the chancellor will confer degrees and make his remarks to the Class of 2015.

For those who prefer to watch indoors, the ceremony will be screened live in Sarratt Cinema, the Old Gym, Neely Auditorium and Rand Dining Hall. If the weather is inclement, Commencement will be moved inside to Memorial Gymnasium.

About 2,880 graduates are expected to attend Commencement. Degrees are scheduled to be awarded to 1,651 undergraduates and 2,216 graduate and professional students. Guests and family members of graduates are invited to Commencement and Senior Day activities.

Senior Day precedes Commencement on May 7, and features author Walter Isaacson speaking from 11 a.m. to noon in Memorial Gymnasium. Isaacson, author of The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution and the former editor of TIME magazine, will speak on “Timeless Leadership.”

Walter Isaacson (courtesy Walter Isaacson)

Isaacson will receive the Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal, one of Vanderbilt’s highest honors. It is given each year to an individual who defines the 21st century and exemplifies the best qualities of the human race. The medal, which includes a cash prize, was created and endowed by Vanderbilt Law School graduate Ed Nichols and his wife, Janice, in honor of Edward Carmack and Lucile Hamby Nichols. Previous winners include Laura Bush, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Toni Morrison.

Isaacson will be available 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt to sign books. Among his other books are biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger and Steve Jobs.

Four faculty seminars will be held in Wilson Hall the afternoon of Senior Day, two at 2 p.m. and two more at 3:15 p.m. Topics include a look at the Nashville music scene in the 1960s and 1970s and a session on medieval executioners.

Graduates and guests attending Commencement are invited to share their Commencement moments using social media – by tagging tweets, Instagrams and Facebook posts #VU2015. All of the social media activity surrounding Commencement – tweets, posts, photos, videos and more – will be collected on Vanderbilt’s Get Social website.