MARION — Dave McGillivray told Tabor Academy’s Class of 2014 that when he first ran the Boston Marathon, at age 17, he quit after seven miles. He returned the following year only to stop again after several miles.

McGillivray, now 60, has since run across the country and finished more than 130 marathons. On Tuesday, he gave the academy’s commencement address.

The current race director for the Boston Marathon, McGillivray told graduating seniors to find their passion and persevere.

“Those who say it can’t be done should not be allowed to interrupt those who are doing,” he said. “Set goals, not limits.”

The school’s 136th commencement ceremony, held near the shores of Sippican harbor, awarded diplomas to 137 students.

Also recognized for his contribution to the school was longtime faculty member G. Bruce Cobbold who has taught the classics at Tabor for 48 years. Cobbold is the school’s longest serving faculty member and retires this year. He is also the president of Tabor's Cum Laude Society.

Head of School John Quirk described Cobbold as a “friend, intellectual, philosopher and dog walker. Though I’m not sure who is walking whom,” Quirk joked.

This year marked a change at the graduation. Instead of holding the ceremony on Hoyt Stage outside the Firemen Auditorium, diplomas were handed out under a tent, a few feet from Sippican harbor.

“The historian in me is sad to see the stage empty,” Quirk said. “But it seems perfect to me that as the ‘school by the sea,’ we are as close to our ocean neighbor as we can be.”

Other speakers echoed the sentiment that the school community had become a family.

In his speech, Student Head of School McKinely Halpern-Reiss looked back on his first night at Tabor as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. He said a lot has changed in those years, but the graduating class has left a legacy.

“Tabor has become a part of my life in a way not other place has,” Halpern-Reiss said.

Sixteen students are tri-town residents, including Marion’s Holly Francis and Rochester’s Alexandra Dawson. Both graduated with a number of awards.

Dawson, the daughter of Marion’s Town Administrator Paul Dawson, earned accolades for her work on the school’s newspaper and for excellence in English literature, Spanish literature and performing arts.

Francis was awarded the schooner flag from the school’s ship Tabor Boy for her four years of work aboard the ship. She also earned the Hamilton Webster Thayer prize, which is given to a student who best embodies the school’s ideals among other awards.