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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 14, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 34
Commencement Ceremonies to Put Cap on 131st Academic Year

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Last Friday, nearly 350 finals-weary School of Public Health students, and an assortment of the school's faculty, packed the Mansion House at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore for a night of cocktails, food and dancing. On Saturday, a similar number of Engineering and Arts and Sciences seniors came finely dressed to a five-star Cupcakes and Champagne Social in Homewood's Decker Garden.

For both groups, the events were a moment to revel in the completion of an academic journey. It also was a time for goodbyes, as in just a few days these individuals would no longer be students; they would be Johns Hopkins alumni — a group that is about to get a big surge in numbers.

On Thursday morning, President William R. Brody will confer degrees and certificates on a record-high 6,348 JHU scholars.

The universitywide commencement forms the centerpiece for this week's various ceremonies that formally conclude JHU's 131st academic year.

The universitywide commencement and Homewood undergraduate diploma ceremonies will be held on Homewood Field, as will the Krieger School's master's ceremony, the Whiting School's graduate ceremony and the joint undergraduate and graduate diploma ceremonies for the Carey Business School and the School of Education. The stadium holds 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.) Other ceremonies will take place in venues throughout Baltimore and in Washington, D.C.

The universitywide ceremony, to be held at 9:15 a.m. on May 17, will feature the conferring of all degrees; recognize the new members of the Society of Scholars, who will be inducted on May 16; and bestow honorary degrees upon R. Champlin Sheridan, university trustee emeritus and founder of the Sheridan Group; and M. Roy Schwarz, a physician, educator and president of the China Medical Board of New York.

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

Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, who led his team to a Super Bowl championship in 2000, will address graduates of the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at their diploma ceremony at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, on Homewood Field. Billick became head coach in 1999 and has guided the team to four postseasons.

The Krieger School's master's diploma award ceremony will feature Claire M. Fraser-Liggett, former president of the Institute of Genome Sciences and newly appointed director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute of Genome Sciences. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 18, on Homewood Field.

Frannie A. Leautier, managing partner of the Fezembat Group in Castelnau de Montmiral, France, will speak at the Whiting School of Engineering's graduate ceremony, to be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, on Homewood Field. Leautier founded the Fezembat Group, a risk-management firm, after a 15-year tenure at the World Bank, where she held various positions, including vice president of the World Bank Institute.

Stanley C. Gabor, dean emeritus of the former School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, will be the speaker at the joint Carey Business School and School of Education undergraduate and graduate diploma (except EdDs) award ceremony, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, on Homewood Field. The two schools, whose programs began the academic year as part of SPSBE, will hold separate ceremonies in 2008. Gabor served as dean of SPSBE from 1982 to 1999, following 20 years at New York University.

The diploma ceremony speaker for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies will be Sir David Manning, British ambassador to the United States and a 1972 SAIS Bologna Center graduate. The event will be at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Sir David took up his appointment on Sept. 2, 2003, after serving as foreign policy adviser to the prime minister.

The School of Medicine will welcome Atul Gawande, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. Gawande's research focuses on problems at the intersection of surgery and public health, with an emphasis on error in surgery. Since 1998, Gawande has been a staff writer for The New Yorker. The ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The School of Public Health's speaker will be John M. Barry, author and distinguished visiting scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier universities. His book How It Changed America was named a "notable book of the year" by The New York Times and "best nonfiction of the year" by The Los Angeles Times. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Rear Adm. Carol A. Romano, chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, will be the speaker for the School of Nursing ceremony, to be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center (the Hippodrome). Romano, a pioneer in the field of nursing informatics, provides leadership and coordination of Public Health Service nursing affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General.

Quincy Jones, the most Grammy-nominated artist of all time, will address the Peabody Conservatory graduates. The ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, in the school's Friedberg Hall. Among his many accomplishments, Jones has won 27 Grammys, produced the best-selling album of all time (Michael Jackson's Thriller) and the best-selling single of all time ("We Are the World") and scored 34 major motion pictures. Jones will receive the George Peabody Medal, the highest honor the Peabody Institute bestows.

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


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