Johns Hopkins Gazette | May 18, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 18, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 35
Farewell to the class of 2009

Degrees to be conferred at University-wide event on May 21

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette
[Amy Lunday contributed to this article.]

For thousands of Johns Hopkins students, a journey ends this week as another begins. On Thursday morning, President Ronald Daniels will offer his first universitywide commencement address and confer degrees and certificates on a record-high 6,776 JHU scholars.

The universitywide commencement forms the centerpiece for this week's various ceremonies that formally conclude JHU's 133rd academic year.

The ceremony, to be held at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 21, will feature the conferring of all degrees; recognize the new members of the Society of Scholars, who will be inducted on May 20; and bestow honorary degrees upon three of this year's five recipients: William Goodwin, founder, president and chairman of CCA Industries and founder of the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research; Richard J. Johns, a pioneer of biomedical engineering who launched the renowned department in the field at Johns Hopkins; and Rep. Tom Lantos, a longtime Democratic congressman from California and the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, who will be honored posthumously.

Also this week, all the university's academic divisions will hold diploma award ceremonies featuring keynote speakers selected by each school. Ceremonies will include the announcement of awards that recognize the contributions and achievements of students and faculty.

The universitywide commencement, Homewood undergraduate diploma ceremonies and several other diploma ceremonies will be held on Homewood Field. The stadium holds 8,500 people--no tickets necessary. In the event of rain, ceremonies will go on if possible. (If it does become necessary to cancel or curtail any of the ceremonies, announcements will be made on the university Web site and on the weather emergency line at 410-516-7781.) Other ceremonies will take place in venues throughout Baltimore and in Washington, D.C.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Maryland native, will address seniors graduating from the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at their diploma ceremony at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. She will also be awarded an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins at this ceremony, as will former Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who ended his 12-year tenure in March. Brody is now president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.

During this event, an anticipated 1,097 seniors from the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, who will officially have graduated when degrees were conferred in the morning ceremony, will cross the stage to shake hands with the president.

Pelosi has represented California's Eighth District in the House of Representatives since 1987. In 2002, her party colleagues elected her Democratic leader of the House, making her the first woman to lead a major party in the U.S. Congress. Before being elected majority leader, she served as Democratic whip for one year and was responsible for the party's legislative strategy. She was elected speaker on Jan. 4, 2007.

During her time in office, Pelosi has championed education, environmental stewardship, worker protection and health care, including women's health and the creation of a nationwide health-tracking network to examine the links between environmental pollutants and chronic disease. A strong proponent of increased investments in health research, Pelosi secured funding to double the budget for the National Institutes of Health.

Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., served as mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also served as mayor of Baltimore.

The Bloomberg School of Public Health's speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Oshinsky, the Jack S. Blanton Chair in History and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Oshinsky won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book Polio: An American Story (Oxford University Press, 2005). The ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Mark Russell, vice president of engineering, technology and mission assurance at Raytheon, will speak at the Whiting School of Engineering's graduate ceremony, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, on Homewood Field. With 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, Raytheon specializes in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. Russell has published 16 peer-reviewed papers on active electronically steered arrays and radar systems, missiles, photonic technology, solid-state transmitters and communications systems. He holds 36 patents in the areas of microwave and millimeter wave components, high-range resolution radar applications and missile seekers.

For its diploma award ceremony, the School of Medicine will welcome Denton Cooley, surgeon in chief and president emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute, and a 1944 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Cooley founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962. A world-renowned surgeon, he has pioneered many techniques used in cardiovascular surgery, including, in 1968, the first successful human heart transplant in the United States. In 1969, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart in man. His numerous honors and awards include the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. The ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 22, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, will be the speaker for the School of Nursing ceremony, to be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, in the Lyric Opera House. Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy organization seeking to make medical and health research a higher national priority. Woolley is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She serves on several boards and committees, including the governing council of the Institute of Medicine and the National Council for Johns Hopkins Nursing.

Richard Parsons, chairman of the board of Citigroup and former CEO and chairman of the board at Time Warner, will be the speaker at the Carey Business School graduate diploma award ceremony, to be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. As president of Time Warner, Parsons oversaw the company's filmed entertainment and music businesses, and all corporate staff functions, including financial activities, legal affairs, public affairs and administration. Upon being named chairman of the board at Citigroup, Parsons said that one of his top priorities is to ensure that its board remains committed to strong, independent corporate governance, especially in today's challenging economic conditions.

The diploma ceremony speaker for the School of Advanced International Studies will be Ban Ki- moon, the eighth secretary general of the United Nations. The event will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Ban brings 37 years of service both in government and on the global stage to his current post. Prior to his appointment, Ban was minister of foreign affairs and trade for the Republic of Korea, where his guiding vision was of a peaceful Korean peninsula playing an expanding role for peace and prosperity in the region and the wider world. Ban has long-standing ties with the United Nations, dating back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations Division.

Andrés Alonso, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, will speak at the School of Education undergraduate and graduate diploma award ceremony. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, on Homewood Field. Alonso was named to his post in July 2007 after working for four years at the New York City Department of Education, where he helped to plan and implement the reform of the largest educational system in the nation. In 2008, at the end of his first year in Baltimore, students reached their highest outcomes in state exams, as well as their highest graduation rates and lowest dropout rates, across all categories of students.

The Peabody Conservatory diploma award ceremony speaker will be Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, in Peabody's Friedberg Hall. Kaiser has been president of the Kennedy Center since 2001, earlier serving as executive director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation, American Ballet Theatre and Royal Opera House. He has written four books, including The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations (2008).

Kaiser will receive the 2009 George Peabody Medal at the ceremony. Inaugurated in 1981, the Peabody Institute's highest award honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to music in America.

The Krieger School's master's diploma award ceremony will feature John Astin, actor, director, producer and visiting professor of theater in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' Writing Seminars. An alumnus of Johns Hopkins, he returned to the university in 2001 to teach acting and directing and has led a renaissance of the school's theater program. This academic year, the Johns Hopkins University Theatre celebrated its fourth full season in the historic Merrick Barn under the direction of Astin, best known for his onstage portrayals of Edgar Allan Poe and for his role as Gomez Addams in the original Addams Family television series. Astin recently performed in Ken Ludwig's play Leading Ladies at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 22, on Homewood Field.

For more information on all the Johns Hopkins graduation ceremonies, go to:


Commencement Webcasts

Can't be there, or want to see them again? The five commencement ceremonies occurring on Homewood Field will be webcast live and archived for later viewing. To view them, go to:


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