June 20, 1869
Commencement observances for the Class of 1869 began on Sunday, June 20, with a baccalaureate service at which President Raymond delivered the sermon. On Monday the graduating seniors and their guests enjoyed an examination of the equestrian students in the Calisthenium and Riding Academy and a musical soirée in the evening, featuring music by Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Beethoven, Haydn, Weber and Chopin.
Examinations in music and calisthenics were presented on Tuesday morning, the 22nd. Professor Frederic Ritter conducted the matinée musicale, which included selections from Stradella, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn, among others. The trustees met at 10 am to hear reports, among them President Raymond’s discussion of the growing college’s future needs for academic space. “He also,” The New York Times noted, "reported very favorably in relation to the general health of the students, which he attributed to their well-arranged physical exercises.”
The Times reported that those attending the calisthenic examinations were “highly entertained,” as “Over three hundred ladies of the College appeared in the drab uniform and crimson scarfs used in the exercises, and went through many different evolutions to the music of a piano.”
The afternoon’s Class Day events were attended by visitors “from all parts of the United States,” according to The Times, and consisted of instrumental music and readings, including a “Greek salutatory” by Christine Ladd ‘69 and “a very humorous reading entitled 'History,'" by Kate A. Sill ’69. In the evening, the Philalethean Society address was given by the previous year’s valedictorian, Sarah Louise Blatchley '68.
Commencement ceremonies were held in the Chapel on Wednesday, June 23. After an introductory prayer given by founding trustee Ezekiel Gilman Robinson, president of the Rochester Theological Seminary, and musical and oratorical presentations from the graduating class, President Raymond addressed the class and awarded the baccalaureate degree to its 34 members. Louise Parsons, '68, received the first Master of Arts degree given by the college.