The multi-faith, multicultural service, is held each year during Commencement weekend.

About the Service

The Baccalaureate Service seems to have originated in the early 15th century at Oxford University in England. Each graduate was obliged to deliver an oration or sermon, in Latin, to demonstrate his worthiness to receive the degree of bachelor, signified by crowning him with laurels. This service is what we now call commencement.

In America, at religious colleges (like Dartmouth was at its founding and early years), the graduation ceremony included a church service, so that new graduates would understand both the seriousness of their new responsibilities and the true Source of all their achievements.

Today's service has evolved greatly since the days of Eleazar Wheelock. It is now a multi-faith, multicultural service in which we celebrate what we hold in common while also recognizing each tradition's beautiful particularities. It is a time of celebration and worship when we pause, as a college, to reflect and express gratitude and joy for our graduates.

2020 Baccalaureate

Event Details

Saturday, June 13, 3:00pm in Rollins Chapel

Keynote Speaker:  Frederica Helmiere '04

An educator and complexity enthusiast, Frederica has spent two decades exploring entanglements between spirituality, social justice, and ecology.

She currently serves as the Director of Education and Programs at Spiritual Directors International (SDI), an inclusive, global learning community of people from many faiths who share a passion for the art and contemplative practice of spiritual companionship. 

rior to SDI, Frederica managed an international network of grassroots peacebuilding groups for the world's largest grassroots interfaith organization, The United Religions Initiative. She transitioned into this work after several years teaching at the University of Washington and Seattle University.

Frederica has an MAR in ethics from Yale Divinity School and an MESc in eco-justice and international development from Yale Forestry School. Before grad school she lived in a small fishing village in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. 

Frederica graduated from Dartmouth in 2004 with a double major in Religion and Environmental Studies. At Dartmouth she served as the DOC Trips Director and was active in Class Council, the Tucker Foundation, Admissions, Crew, Rugby, and The Edge. 

Frederica Helmiere (née Ghesquiere) and her husband John Helmiere '05 (née Helmstadter) live in Seattle with their two daughters.


2019 Multifaith Baccalaureate Service Video

Past Baccalaureate Information


Keynote Speaker:  Allegra Love '03

Allegra Love is an immigration attorney and director of The Sante Fe Dreamers Project in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Sante Fe Dreamers Project is a non-profit legal services organization providing free legal representation to New Mexico's immigrant community.  The Project's work is centered around the belief that supporting  immigrants makes our whole community stronger.

Allegra began her career at Sante Fe Public Schools in 2005 as a bilingual elementary school teacher and followed her passion for working with immigrants to law school.  After graduating from the University of New Mexico School of Law, she came to work for the Adelante program of Sante Fe Public Schools, where she founded this project.  She volunteers extensively, both in her community and elsewhere, for organizations like the Santa Fe Youth Commission, No More Deaths, and New Mexico Dreamers in Action (NM-DIA).  Most recently, she has worked to defend Central American women and children detained on the US border.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

Allegra has a BA from Dartmouth College, a JD from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and is a licensed teacher in the state of New Mexico.  She loves country music and riding around in trucks.

Baccalaureate Service Video


Keynote speaker: Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord '79, MD (Navajo)

An author and surgeon, and the first Navajo woman to be board-certified in surgery. She is a member of the Ponderosa Pine (Tsinnajinnie) and Salt (Ashi'hii' Dine') clans. Alvord earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1979, received her doctorate of medicine (MD) at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1985, and completed her residency in general surgery at Stanford University Hospital. She served as associate dean, student affairs, at Dartmouth Medical School from 1997-2009, Central Michigan College of Medicine (2010-2012), and the University of Arizona College of Medicine (2012-2014).

"Ceremonies work at multiple levels, bur primarily they heal the mind, which helps to heal the body. Chant, song, prayer, and guided imagery are used, in an elaborate form of mind-body medicine. Subsistence living and environmental sustainability principles are also found in ceremony teachings, and are examples of how interconnection can promote sustainability theory and teach humans a way of living that honors and protects our natural world." - Lori Arviso Alvord