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The Baccalaureate service seems to have originated in a 1432 Oxford University statute, which required each bachelor to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of his academic exercise. Because the earliest universities in this country were founded primarily to educate ministers, the British practice of a Baccalaureate Service was continued.

At Dartmouth, it was an integral part of Senior Week until Commencement itself was moved from Wednesday, when it had historically occurred, to Sunday, at which time it absorbed the Baccalaureate. This change occurred in 1939 to conform to weekend customs of the outside world.

Today, the Baccalaureate service is an multi-faith occasion of thanksgiving and celebration for the completion of the undergraduate and graduate careers. The service is intended to incorporate a variety of traditions, languages, and perspectives.

Campus ministers and advisors representing many of the religious traditions and student religious organizations at Dartmouth join the selected speakers on the dais. Also on the dais are representatives from the Dean of the Faculty and the Dean of the College offices.

2015 Baccalaureate

June 13, 2015
3:00 PM
Rollins Chapel

Baccalaureate Speaker: Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Tlaib was raised in Detroit and is the child of immigrants, who taught her the importance of hard work, honesty, and commitment to community. As the eldest of 14 children, she developed leadership qualities that made her responsible, caring, and compassionate toward others. In 1998, she received her B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University. While working full-time, she attended weekend classes at Thomas Cooley Law School, where she earned her law degree in January of 2004.

Her family’s struggle to create a new life in Detroit inspired Rashida’s long term commitment to public service and giving back to the community. She provided social and advocacy services to thousands of local families at Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LASED), the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), the Office of State Representative Steve Tobocman, the International Institute of Metro Detroit, and the Neighborhood Tax Center.

Rashida was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008, where she is serving her last term representing the 6th District (Detroit, Ecorse, River Rouge). She serves as the ranking Democratic member of the Appropriations Committee as well as on the Community Health and Human Services Subcommittees.

While participating in these valuable committees, she has worked on over thirty bills combating poverty, increasing access to human services, protecting our public health and environment, and promoting public safety.

Although her work in Lansing is significant, her most important accomplishment has been her neighborhood service center, which has over twelve different programs offered to low-income families and those who need help the most. Rashida is the only legislator that has a fully-staffed service center of this kind, which provides direct advocacy and services to residents like free tax preparation and access to weatherization programs.

Rashida made history by becoming the first female Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature, and only second in the country. Rashida has been married to her husband, Fayez, for sixteen years. Together they have two sons, Adam and Yousif.



  • Michigan Association of Police Chiefs Legislator of the Year Award
  • Crain's Detroit Women to Watch Award
  • Michigan After-School Partnership After-School Champion Award
  • ROC Michigan & Colors Celebrate the Hands that Feed You Award
  • CHASS Health Care Hero Award
  • BIMU Humanitarian Award
  • Mothering Justice Recognition for championing mother's issues 
  • Justice Caucus Leadership Award for Progressive Political Action
  • New American Leaders Project New American Policy Champion 
  • Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic Esteemed Women Award
  • Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing Outstanding Leader in the Fight to End Childhood Lead Poisoning Award
  • Wayne Metro Community Action Agency Partner in Progress Award
  • Detroit Area Agency on Aging Silver Key Award 
  • Great Start Collaborative - Wayne County Early Childhood Champion Award
  • Young Elected Officials Network Barbara Jordan Leadership Award
  • Healthy Homes Detroit Outstanding Leadership Award
  • City of Detroit Spirit of Detroit Award for Tax Services
  • Fight Crime Invest in Kids Crime Fighter Award
  • APIA Legislative Champion Award 
  • Progress Michigan Outstanding Advocate Award


A list of past Baccalaureate speakers is available beginning in 2004.

Last Updated: 3/24/15