May 06, 2010


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Final preparations were underway Thursday for Sunday's commencement. || Weather

By Sam Alcorn

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Thousands of family members and friends will be on hand to watch as more than 900 students graduate during Bucknell University's 160th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23.

The tradition-filled ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Bucknell's Academic Quadrangle, where 884 undergraduate degrees and 26 graduate degrees will be awarded.

Of the undergraduate students, 734 members of the Class of 2010 will be conferred degrees in the arts and sciences, while another 150 will receive engineering degrees. The soon-to-be graduates represent 37 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as 18 nations.

Live webcast
For those unable to attend in person, Bucknell will again present a live webcast of the ceremony. Visit Commencement Live and live update for more information.

Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and philanthropist Benjamin S. Carson Sr. will present the commencement address. Carson has been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his achievements performing high-risk operations and advancing education for all students. || See complete story.

Fans of Bucknell's Facebook page were among those who lauded the announcement of Carson as commencement speaker.

'Excellent choice'
"Dr. Carson operated on our 3-month-old son who had craniosynostosis," one fan shared. "He is brilliant and inspirational. An excellent choice. Bravo, Bucknell!"

Another Facebook fan called Carson a "legendary neurosurgeon."

"He is a great example of hard work blending with intelligence," the fan said. "He is also a great example that we as parents play in the development of our children. His mother's insistence on reading is one of the reasons for his success. As an African-American physician, I work daily to follow in his gigantic footsteps and leave something behind for others to admire."

This year, Bucknell will present three honorary degrees to the following distinguished individuals:

  • Martha Nussbaum, the celebrated philosopher, author and current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. An interdisciplinary thinker and groundbreaking scholar, Nussbaum has brought her extensive training in classics and philosophy to bear on contemporary American culture and politics, ethics and liberal arts education. She will receive the Doctorate of Literary Letters.
  • John F. Zeller, a member of the Class of 1941 and former vice president, general counsel and acting president of Bucknell. He will receive the Doctorate of Humane Letters.
  • Robert C. Rooke, trustee emeritus, honorary campaign chair and recipient of Bucknell's Stephen W. Taylor Medal in 1997. He will receive the Doctorate of  Humane Letters.

"Bucknell awards honorary doctorates to recognize individuals whose work exemplifies the qualities of intellect, character and creativity most cherished by the University," said Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell. "Special consideration is given to those individuals whose distinguished contributions have not been widely or formally recognized outside their own fields and to individuals who are part of the Bucknell community."

The Class of 2010 will parade in academic cap and gown to the Academic Quad from the Christy Mathewson Memorial Gateway, the same gate through which they passed as first-year students when they were welcomed into the Bucknell community. This passage will mark their transition to alumni.

Bucknell has nearly 50,000 living alumni.

First graduates in 1851
The University — when it was known at the University at Lewisburg — graduated its first students in 1851, when it awarded seven undergraduate degrees at what today is known as Taylor Hall, the oldest building on campus. Since 1970, commencement has been held on the Academic Quadrangle bordered by the Bertrand Library, Coleman and Marts halls and the Vaughan Literature Building.

A complete schedule of commencement events, registration and general information, including accommodations and dining, is available at a special webpage, Commencement 2010.

Other graduation weekend event highlights:

Three Bucknell graduates will be among the 11 cadets from five area colleges and universities who are being commissioned as U.S. Army second lieutenants at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 22, during a ceremony at Bucknell Hall. Bucknell has had an Army ROTC unit on campus since 1951.

The Inter-Religious Baccalaureate Service for graduates and their guests will be offered in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22.

Abdullah Antepli, Muslim Chaplain at Duke University, will be the special guest speaker and the Rooke Chapel Choir and Rooke Chapel Ringers will also participate in the service.

No tickets are required, but seating in the Weis Center is limited. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Contact: Division of Communications

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