Four questions for Jill Williams, commencement director

1. What's at the top of your to-do list?

To create joy-filled, lifelong memories for graduates and their families. 

Jill Williams

Image caption: Jill Williams

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

2. What keeps you up at night?

I sleep well—and I keep 10,000 rain ponchos on standby for the fourth Thursday in May, just in case.

3. What's in store 10 years from now?

Continuing to keep our newest alumni connected to our very first alumni. Elements of the Commencement ceremony can be traced back to the Middle Ages, so maintaining the integrity of the university's ceremonies while balancing what is relevant in today's society is important to our identity. Technological enhancements, a focus on sustainability, and social media play a role in a balanced evolution.

4. Tell me something I don't know about Johns Hopkins.

We use nine gonfalons during the ceremony, one for each academic division. And President Daniels' robe has four black velvet chevrons on the sleeves, a ceremonial designation for the president of the university. Others wearing the Johns Hopkins regalia have only three.

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