Commencement speakers chosen

V. Paul

Some colleges employed large committees and formal procedures to whittle down their list of candidates. In other colleges, a select few just talked and brainstormed.
In the end, the University’s 20 schools and colleges finally announced Wednesday the speaker list for the spring commencement ceremonies.
Ceremonies start with the Graduate School and the Institute of Technology on Friday and close with the College of Veterinary Medicine on June 10.
For the College of Liberal Arts, University alumni Carl Rowan, an author and syndicated columnist, and Eugene Sperling, chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, will address an estimated 900 graduates this Mother’s Day weekend.
“What we tried to do is pick prominent alumni, because that has a very special resonance with the graduating students,” said Tom Trow, a CLA spokesman. An eight-person committee made up of students, faculty and staff members selected the speakers.
College officials have also brought back student speakers to address graduates. Angela Boatman, a journalism senior, and Martina Broner, who designed a major in visual imagery, film and photography, were chosen from among 100 award-winning and scholarly students by the CLA Student Board.
IT invited state Sen. Robert Kierlin to speak to its expected 550 graduates Friday. Kierlin, who graduated from the University with a mechanical engineering degree, founded Fastenal Company, which now includes 800 outlets selling threaded fasteners such as nuts and bolts.
Kierlin, who was elected to the state Senate in 1999, was chosen during a two-week period from among IT’s estimated 2,000 alumni who have founded companies or were active in the community, said Kris Kosek, IT’s alumni relations director.
“We usually alternate our speakers between an alumnus one year and a member of the technical community in another year,” Kosek said, who made the final decision with Dean H. Ted Davis and a representative of IT’s development staff.
The Medical School’s speaker is chosen each year by the senior class, who then forward their list of candidates to the Medical School Education Office, said Linda Reilly, assistant director of the school’s student support services.
For its May 12 ceremonies, the 235 graduating students chose Marion Wright Edelman, the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund.
“We were primarily looking for someone of national prominence,” said David Hilden, the graduating class president. “We were looking for someone who had something to say but was outside the medical field.”
V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]