University of Michigan president to speak at first Graduate School commencement ceremony

Author: Dennis Brown


Mary Sue Coleman, a distinguished biochemist who has served as president of theUniversityofMichigansince 2002, will be the principal speaker May 19 (Saturday) at the first Commencement ceremony for the University of Notre Dame Graduate School. She will receive an honorary degree the next day at Notre Dames 162 nd Commencement exercises.

TheGraduateSchoolceremony will take place at 1 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall of theDeBartoloCenterfor the Performing Arts. A reception for graduates and their guests will immediately follow the ceremony.

Coleman was a member of the biochemistry faculty at theUniversityofKentuckyfor 19 years, specializing in the study of the immune system and malignancies. She authored numerous articles on her findings and directed funded research projects supported by a wide array of federal agencies. She was elected to theInstituteofMedicineand also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and theAmericanAcademyof Arts and Sciences.

Colemans research led to administrative appointments at theUniversityofNorth Carolinaand theUniversityofNew Mexico, where she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. She was president of theUniversityofIowafrom 1995 until her election to the presidency ofMichiganin August 2002. AtMichiganshe is a professor of biological chemistry in the medical school and professor of chemistry in theCollegeofLiterature, Science, and the Arts.

As U-Ms 13 th president, Coleman has advanced initiatives related to student residentiallife, interdisciplinary studies, ethics in society and health care. She also is one of the nations leading voices on the educational value of affirmative action. Under her leadership, U-M has launched a $2.5 billion capital campaign.

This year marks the first time Notre Dame will provide a distinct ceremony forGraduateSchoolstudents who have earned masters and doctoral degrees. The event will include recognition of all graduates and presentation of the Shaheen Awards, the Graduate School’s highest student distinction; the Rev. James A. Burns, C.S.C., Graduate School Award, presented to a faculty member for outstanding contributions to graduate education; and the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award. Such recognition was not possible at the University-wide ceremony, due to time constraints.

A separate ceremony is the norm at many of our peer institutions,Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University, wrote in a letter toGraduateSchoolstudents.I wanted to create an event that would focus attention on our graduate studentsaccomplishments and degrees …. because they deserve this special attention.

Father Jenkins and Provost Thomas Burish will be in attendance at the ceremony, which will be led by Don Pope-Davis, dean of theGraduateSchool. Also in attendance will be the Universitys academic officers – Dennis Jacobs, Jean Ann Linney and Chris Maziar – and deans Michael Lykoudis from the School of Architecture, Joseph Marino from the College of Science, James Merz from the College of Engineering, and Mark Roche from the College of Arts and Letters.

TheNotre DameLawSchooland the MBA Program in the Mendoza College of Business have offered separate ceremonies for their advanced degree recipients for many years.

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