LEWISTON, Maine _ Driven indoors by inclement weather, nearly 500 students earned degrees Sunday, as Bates College held its 149th commencement ceremony.
"It's not often that a mathematician is asked to give a commencement address." joked speaker Manjul Bhargava, "Perhaps this is for good reason." Bhargava, a professor of mathematics at Princeton University in New Jersey, and recipient of numerous awards and honors in his field, spoke about the ways math and art dovetail, from music to Sanskrit poetry. He encouraged the new grads to seek those kinds of complements.
"Find something that you really enjoy. In fact, find two or three or four or more things that you really enjoy. And do them. Keep learning about other disciplines." said Bhargava. "And don't just appreciate the connections between different realms of human endeavor that you find, but actively look for them."
College president Clayton Spencer conferred honorary degrees on Bhargava, as well as master craftsman Thomas Moser, Olympic runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, and pioneering ophthalmologist Mark Abelson .
The 484 students in the Bates graduating class of 2015 come from 32 U.S. states and 31 countries.