Introducing this year’s Commencement announcer

Carina Ray

African and Afro-American Studies associate professor Carina Ray

Meet the new voice of Brandeis University’s Commencement exercises: African and Afro-American Studies associate professor Carina Ray.

Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz selected Ray to serve as the announcer – a master of ceremonies, of sorts – for Sunday’s main event.

“It was certainly a surprise, but a welcome one,” said Ray regarding her being selected. “I was intrigued by the invitation and I am up for the challenge.”

Ray will be onstage throughout the ceremony, which starts promptly at 10:30 a.m. in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center on Sunday. She will keep the audience informed as various groups of administrators, honorary degree recipients, faculty and students process into the arena as well as throughout the ceremony.

This is Ray’s third year as a Brandeis faculty member; she teaches courses which lean on her expertise in African, Black Atlantic and colonial history.

But on Sunday, Ray will go from the front of the classroom to speaking on stage in front of nearly 8,000 guests.

“In the work that we do as teachers, we’re always in front of an audience,” Ray said. “Sometimes it’s a small seminar or a larger class. Other times it's delivering a lecture or keynote address at a conference. I see commencement as an extension of that experience, just on a much larger scale.”

Ray has also been behind a microphone many times before – on radio news programs to discuss her research or provide her expertise – but she still gets nervous and she says that’s a good thing. So she plans on being as prepared as possible by the time she steps in front of the microphone on Sunday.

“Right now, I’m focused on working through the script and making sure I have the correct order and pronunciation of everyone’s name,” she said. “I’ve done a walkthrough of the ceremony. But, knowing me, I will be focused in on the script, practicing and fine-tuning up until the very last minute on Sunday.”

“Nevertheless I am looking forward to this opportunity,” Ray added. “It’s my job to make sure everything flows smoothly – that’s probably what I like most about it. The attention is not on me, but I am directing the attention of the audience to what really matters. It’s about the graduates and those there to wish them well.”

Categories: General

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage