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More than 1000 degrees at Carlson Center commencement

Submitted by Tori Tragis
Phone: (907) 474-6438


The University of Alaska Fairbanks expects to confer 1,056 degrees to 996 students during its 82nd commencement ceremony Sunday, May 9, 2004 at the Carlson Center, making this one of the largest graduating class in UAF's history. The university's first commencement took place in 1923, when the sole graduate, John Sexton Shanly, received his bachelor's degree in agriculture.

Preliminary figures show that 560 women and 436 men have applied for graduation; some students will receive more than one degree. The commencement ceremony includes graduates from summer 2003, fall 2003 and spring 2004.

The oldest graduate of 2004 is Lucy Adams, 71, who's earning a certificate in rural human services. There are two 18-year-olds tying for this year's youngest graduates. Katie Dexter and Tanner Smith are both earning associate of arts degrees.

UAF expects to award 126 certificates, 241 associate degrees, 473 bachelor's degrees and 196 master's degrees on Sunday. Twenty students are expected to receive doctoral degrees in fields ranging from atmospheric sciences to oceanography and molecular biology. Several members of the University of Alaska Board of Regents will help UAF Chancellor Marshall Lind confer degrees. UA President Mark Hamilton will also participate in the ceremony.

The Nenana School Intertribal Dance group will lead the processional. Graduates, faculty, honorary degree recipients and university officials will start the ceremony at 1:20 p.m.

Former USS Cole officer Rick Heckert will deliver this year's keynote address. Heckert graduated from UAF in 1998. Those receiving honorary degrees include former Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill, Alaska Native leader Al Ketzler and pioneering Alaska geologist Austin Post. The student speaker is mechanical engineering graduate Lee DeWilde.

The procession's grand marshal will be retiring Professor Sathy Naidu, who will also be granted emeritus status. Altogether, 12 retiring faculty will be granted emeritus status on Sunday, a title given to those who have served the university with distinction in teaching, research and public service for at least 10 years.

Those receiving emeritus status are Assistant Professor of English D.A. Bartlett, Assistant Professor of English Susan Blalock, Professor of Wildlife Ecology R. Terry Bowyer, Professor of Horticulture Don Carling, Professor of Extension Jim Douglas, Professor of Marine Science Sathy Naidu, Professor of Economics Colin Read, Professor of Physics Glenn Shaw, Professor of Creative Writing Frank Soos, Associate Professor of Library Science Dennis Stephens, Professor of Mathematics Walter Tape and Director of the Bristol Bay Campus Peggy Wood. Retiring UAF Chancellor Marshall Lind will also be awarded chancellor emeritus.

Commencement rehearsal for graduates is Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Carlson Center. There will also be a graduate picnic at the UAF Wood Center from noon-2 p.m., for graduates and their family and friends to celebrate with Chancellor and Mrs. Lois Lind. Graduation Mass will take place in the Schaible Auditorium Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

Graduates and alumni are welcome to attend a reception hosted by the UAF Alumni Association in the Carlson Center's Pioneer Room immediately following the ceremony Sunday. A complete list of commencement weekend activities is posted at http://www.uaf.edu/commencement.


Note to editors: The expected number of degrees and students graduating reflects data compiled as of May 6, 2004.

CONTACT: Commencement Coordinator Tori Tragis at (907) 474-6438 or UAF Public Information Officer Carla Browning at (907) 474-7778.