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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 19, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 35
Commencement Ceremonies Cap 132nd Academic Year

All degrees to be conferred May 22 at universitywide event on Homewood Field

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

More than 40 Johns Hopkins staff members crowded the O'Connor Recreation Center's conference room on a Wednesday afternoon late last month for the final commencement and graduation committee meeting. Joining them there were representatives of P.W. Feats, the special events/marketing firm that orchestrates most of the Homewood ceremonies. On the agenda that day: everything and anything.

The lively discussion flitted about from field setup to photography to live Webcasts to security and much more. The attendees, under the guidance of commencement director India Lowres, wanted to ensure that every last detail was accounted for, from the size of tables in a reception area and the placement of recycling bins to the construction of scaffolding and the exact timing of the procession in the universitywide ceremony.

There were 10,001 details to go over for one day that literally requires hundreds of staff and volunteers in order to run smoothly.

"It's meetings like that one that pull it all together," Lowres said. "You have to account for everything. One little tiny detail might affect 20 people. We all need to be on the same page."

Lowres is confident that everyone is, and the moment of truth approaches. On Thursday morning, President William R. Brody, who is retiring from his post at the end of the year, will offer his last commencement address and confer degrees and certificates on a record-high 6,687 JHU scholars.

The universitywide commencement forms the centerpiece for this week's various ceremonies that formally conclude JHU's 132nd academic year.

The ceremony, to be held at 9:15 a.m. on May 22, will feature the conferring of all degrees; recognize the new members of the Society of Scholars, who will be inducted on May 21; and bestow honorary degrees upon George Bunting Jr., university and hospital trustee; Baltimore-born jazz legend Ethel Ennis; Robert E. Fischell, an engineer and inventor retired from the Applied Physics Laboratory; and Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, co-founder of the Baltimore-based asset management firm Legg Mason and former chair of the university's board of trustees.

Also this week, all of 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 and Homewood undergraduate diploma ceremonies will be held on Homewood Field, as will several diploma ceremonies. 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.

William S. Nye, best known as "Bill Nye, the Science Guy," will address graduates of the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at their diploma ceremony at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 22. He will also be awarded an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins.

Nye, who has a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, moved to Seattle upon graduation to work for Boeing. A natural entertainer, he first had a dual career as engineer by day and stand-up comic by night. He eventually landed a job as a writer/actor on a local ensemble comedy show called Almost Live, where Bill Nye, the Science Guy was born.

In 1993, he created the Bill Nye, the Science Guy television show, which ran on PBS for five years and then lived on in syndication. The show won 28 Emmy Awards, with Nye personally winning seven for writing, performing and producing. The author of five science books, he currently hosts The 100 Greatest Discoveries on the Science Channel and The Eyes of Nye, which airs on PBS stations across the country.

The Krieger School's master's diploma award ceremony will feature economist Anne Kreuger, professor of international economics at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. She most recently held the International Monetary Fund's No. 2 leadership position as first deputy managing director, from September 2001 to August 2006. At SAIS, Kreuger teaches international trade, finance and economic development. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 23, on Homewood Field.

The Bloomberg School of Public Health speaker will be Peter Agre, who in 2003 shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of aquaporins, channels that regulate and facilitate water molecule transport through cell membranes — a process essential to all living organisms. Agre was a faculty member of the School of Medicine from 1981 to 2005, when he joined Duke University Medical Center as vice chancellor for science and technology. Agre rejoined Johns Hopkins last year to serve as director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and professor of molecular microbiology and immunology. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Jeong Kim, university trustee and president of Bell Laboratories Alcatel-Lucent, will speak at the Whiting School of Engineering's graduate ceremony, to be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, on Homewood Field. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Kim earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science as well as a master's degree in technical management from Johns Hopkins. In 2005, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce named him one of the Top 10 Most Influential Asian Americans in Business.

A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, former executive director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the investment bank Alex. Brown & Sons, will be the speaker at the Carey Business School graduate diploma award ceremony, to be held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, in Shriver Hall. Krongard was appointed executive director of the CIA in 2001; he joined the agency in 1998 after nearly 30 years as a businessman.

The diploma ceremony speaker for the School of Advanced International Studies will be Robert Zoellick, 11th president of the World Bank Group and chairman of its board of directors. The event will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Before assuming his post in July 2007, Zoellick was international vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group, and managing director and chairman of Goldman Sachs' board of international advisers from 2006 to 2007. He was deputy secretary of the State Department from 2005 to 2006. From 2001 to 2005, he served as U.S. trade representative.

The School of Medicine will welcome Peter Beilenson, Howard County health officer. Before taking his current post, Beilenson spent 13 years as health commissioner of Baltimore City, where he expanded drug treatment programs, improved immunization compliance, instituted initiatives for lead poisoning and juvenile violence prevention and founded Maryland Health Care for All, a statewide initiative for universal health coverage. The ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Leslie Mancuso, president and CEO of Jhpiego, will be the speaker for the School of Nursing ceremony, to be held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, in the Lyric Opera House. Jhpiego is a Johns Hopkins affiliate that builds global and local partnerships to enhance the quality of health care services for women and families throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. Mancuso, a nurse, joined Jhpiego in 2002 after 13 years at Project HOPE, a $110 million operation where she served as acting chief executive, chief operating officer and executive vice president for international operations.

The Peabody Conservatory Diploma Award Ceremony speaker will be Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized innovator in the fields of business and arts education. The ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, in Peabody's Friedberg Hall. Robinson has advised national governments in Europe and Asia and works with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit corporations and some of the world's leading cultural organizations.

Robinson was the principal author of The Arts in Schools: Principles, Practice and Provision, a standard text in the United Kingdom and around the world. From 1985 to 1989, he was director of the Arts in Schools Project, a major UK initiative to improve the teaching of the arts, and in 1998 was appointed by the British government to chair the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, the largest-ever inquiry into the importance of creativity in education and the economy. He will receive the George Peabody Medal at the ceremony. Instituted in 1981, the medal is the highest award the Peabody Institute can bestow and is meant to honor individuals who have made exceptional contributions to music in America.

The Carey Business School undergraduate diploma award ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, in Shriver Hall. The speaker will be Anirban Basu, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Sage Policy Group, an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore. An instructor in the Department of Management in the Carey Business School, Basu is well-known throughout the mid-Atlantic region for his consulting work on behalf of developers, bankers, brokerage houses, energy suppliers, law firms, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Camilla Benbow, dean of education at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, 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 22, on Homewood Field. A Johns Hopkins alumna, Benbow has become increasingly influential in national education circles. In 2006, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings appointed her as vice chair of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. President Bush subsequently nominated her to serve on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation.

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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