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Hendrix College Commencement 2024

College celebrates Class of 2024 and end of academic year

CONWAY, Arkansas (May 11, 2024) — The Hendrix College Class of 2024 celebrated the end of four years of life-changing experiences and the start of new adventures this morning with family, friends, faculty, and staff at the 2024 Commencement ceremony in Young-Wise Memorial Stadium.

Hendrix awarded 228 Bachelor of Arts degrees and eight Master of Arts degrees in accounting.

Read the full list of 2024 Hendrix College graduates

Watch the archived video ceremony

“To our graduates, congratulations on all that you have achieved during your time at Hendrix,” said Hendrix President Karen Petersen. “The history of higher education may refer to you as the COVID generation but as your example has shown, your legacy will not be defined by adversity and challenge but by the character and resolve you have demonstrated.

“Thank you for the many ways that you have helped make Hendrix a stronger institution,” said Petersen. “For that, you have our deepest gratitude.”

According to preliminary results from the senior class survey, Hendrix graduates will leave campus headed to nearly 10 different states and four foreign countries for jobs in research labs, school districts, environmental startups, and television news stations, as teachers and coaches, data and financial analysts, veterinary and legal assistants, and police officers. This year’s senior class also includes two Watson Fellowship recipients and a recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship to France.

Other Class of 2024 graduates will head to graduate and professional school programs at New York University, Cornell University, Washington University in St. Louis, the London Film School, and the Universities of Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, New Orleans, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Southern California, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia to study the arts, economics, film making, law, medicine, psychology, public policy, and the sciences.

In addition to the Class of 2024, Hendrix awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Ronnie D. Williams, Hendrix College Class of 1976, in recognition of his distinguished career in higher education leadership and commitment to community service.

A native of Menifee, Williams retired after four decades of service to the University of Central Arkansas campus community. His commitment to civic life and community leadership is equally remarkable. In 2018, Ronnie received the Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award, the highest recognition from the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, presented yearly to a person who has demonstrated special service to the community. In 2022, after his retirement, Williams published Markham Street, an amazing and sobering account of his family’s quest for justice after the death of his brother, Marvin Williams, who died in police custody in 1960.

Following the conferral of the honorary degree, Williams addressed the Hendrix Class of 2024.

“I first set foot on this campus as an 18-year-old freshman straight out of East Side High School, an all-black school district in Menifee, Arkansas, eight miles west of here,” said Williams, who was one of several student-athlete recruits in longtime Hendrix basketball coach Cliff Garrison’s charter class. “As you might suspect, I had never sat in a classroom with anyone who did not look like me. It was a significant adjustment for me ... And though it was an adjustment for me, Hendrix College transformed my life, as it laid the foundation for a future of lifelong learning ... learning that challenged me, pushed me, and helped me become my better self.”

Williams encouraged Hendrix graduates to choose a path that challenges their comfort zone, recognize the need for peacemakers in this world, be willing to stand against hate, and be truth tellers who embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly of our history.

“As you leave this assembly, do not shy away but embrace the willingness to have difficult conversations,” he said. “It is through these conversations that we can achieve true reconciliation.”

Read the full text of Williams’ Commencement Address to the Class of 2024

About Hendrix College

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges and celebrated among the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, engaged learning opportunities and career preparation, vibrant campus life, and value. The Hendrix College Warriors compete in 21 NCAA Division III sports. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. Learn more at

“… Through engagement that links the classroom with the world, and a commitment to diversity, inclusion, justice, and sustainable living, the Hendrix community inspires students to lead lives of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” —Hendrix College Statement of Purpose