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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 23, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 35
Ceremonies Put Cap on 129th Year

Academic divisions will unit in one university-wide event

An academic journey for thousands of Johns Hopkins students nears its conclusion. On Thursday morning, President William R. Brody will confer degrees and certificates on 6,131 JHU scholars, the largest graduating class in the university's history.

The universitywide commencement forms the centerpiece for this week's various ceremonies that formally conclude JHU's 129th academic year.

The universitywide commencement, Homewood undergraduate and SPSBE diploma ceremonies will be held on Homewood Field. The Krieger School's master's ceremony will be held there this year as well. The stadium holds up to 9,000 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.)

The universitywide ceremony, to be held at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 26, will feature the conferring of all degrees; recognize the new members of the Society of Scholars, who will be inducted on May 25; and bestow honorary degrees upon activist and rabbi Arthur Hertzberg; Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand; and physicist and mathematician Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study. President William R. Brody will deliver the address.

In addition, the university's eight academic divisions will hold diploma award ceremonies this week featuring keynote speakers selected by each school. Ceremonies also will include the announcement of awards that recognize the contributions and achievements of students and faculty. Among the speakers will be former Vice President Albert Gore Jr.; Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH; and Robert Rubin, former U.S. Treasury secretary.

Al Gore, who will be awarded the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters, 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 26.

During the ceremony, the university will honor two members of the class of 2005, Christopher Elser, who died in April 2004, and Linda Trinh, who died in January 2005. At the time of her death, Trinh had already earned enough credits to receive her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. It is anticipated that her father, Quy Trinh, will accept his daughter's degree on her behalf during the ceremony. Because Elser was a junior when he died, he did not yet have enough credits to earn his undergraduate degree. He will be awarded a certificate of merit, which his younger sister, Taylor Elser, plans to receive on his behalf during the ceremony.

Gore's career includes a lifetime of public service. The son of a congressman, he holds degrees from Harvard and the Vanderbilt University's School of Religion and School of Law. After serving in the U.S. Army and working as an investigative reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, he was elected to public office in 1976 and served 17 years in Congress, both as a representative and senator from Tennessee. He served two terms as vice president under Bill Clinton and unsuccessfully ran for president in the tightly contested 2000 election. Recently, Gore announced the creation of Current, a cable TV channel that will target younger viewers with a blend of news and culture. Gore will serve as chairman of the board of the new channel, which premiers on Aug. 1.

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' master's diploma award ceremony will feature Daniel Weiss, the outgoing James B. Knapp Dean of the school. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27, at Homewood Field. An art historian and a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty since 1993, Weiss has won two JHU awards for teaching excellence. He was appointed dean in February 2002. On Dec. 17, Weiss was elected the 16th president of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. He will assume that post on July 1.

Loren Douglass, vice president of Merrill Lynch and Co. and a university trustee, will speak to the gathered graduates at the Whiting School of Engineering's graduate ceremony, to be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, on Homewood Field.

Baltimore Sun columnist Michael Olesker will be the speaker at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education undergraduate and graduate diploma award ceremony, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, on Homewood Field. The veteran journalist is the author of two books from the JHU Press, Michael Olesker's Baltimore: If You Live Here, You're Home (1995) and Growing Up — and Growing Together — in Baltimore: Journeys to the Heart of a City (2001).

The diploma ceremony speaker for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will be Robert Rubin, U.S. Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. The ceremony will be at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Rubin is currently a director, chairman of the Executive Committee and member of the Office of the Chairman of Citigroup, in New York. Rubin has been involved with financial markets and the nation's public policy debate his entire professional life. He began his career in finance at Goldman, Sachs and Co. in New York in 1966, rising to co-senior partner and co-chairman, positions he held from 1990 to 1992.

The School of Medicine will welcome Francis Collins at its ceremony, to be held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Collins led the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project, a complex multidisciplinary scientific enterprise directed at mapping and sequencing all the human DNA, and determining aspects of its function. Following a fellowship in human genetics at Yale, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he remained until moving to NIH in 1993. His research has led to the identification of genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and Hutchison-Gilford progeria syndrome. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

The School of Public Health's diploma award ceremony speaker will be the school's dean, Alfred Sommer. Sommer, who has headed the school for the past 14 years, will step down in September to return to research and teaching. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The speaker for the School of Nursing graduation ceremony, to be held at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, in Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus, will be Martha Hill, the school's dean since 2003. Hill is internationally known for her work developing and testing strategies to improve hypertension care and control among urban, underserved African-Americans, particularly young men.

Composer George Crumb will address the Peabody Conservatory graduates. The ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, in the school's Friedberg Hall. Crumb, the winner of a 2001 Grammy Award and the 1968 Pulitzer Prize in Music, composes music that often juxtaposes styles, which range from the Western art-music tradition to hymn and folk music. Crumb recently retired from his teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania. He will be awarded the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America at the ceremony.


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