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Final preparations for commencement weekend were underway Thursday on the Academic Quad, above, and Sojka Lawn.

Posted May 5, 2008
Updated May 15, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Thousands of friends and family will join Bucknell University's Class of 2008 on the Academic Quadrangle for the University's 158th commencement at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 18.

Bucknell will award 890 undergraduate and 37 graduate degrees to students representing 41 states and the District of Columbia and 19 countries.

President Brian C. Mitchell also will present two honorary degrees during the morning ceremony. 

Honorary degree recipients
Agnes Denes, the internationally renowned sculptor who was a scholar-at-large at Bucknell during the 2006 spring semester and whose work has long been displayed in public spaces on campus, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. Her most recent displayed on campus is her marble tablets – "Stelae-Messages From Another Time -- Discoveries of Minds and People" (1986) -- at the courtyard entrance of the Rooke Chemistry Building.

Dr. David Scadden, Class of 1975 and a leading stem cell researcher, will be awarded a Doctor of Science. A professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Scadden is director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine and Technology and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

"Ms. Denes is recognized as a pioneer of environmental art and has used her work to raise challenging ecological, cultural, and social questions," President Mitchell said. "Dr. Scadden is recognized as one of the nation's leading stem cell researchers and developers of new therapies for cancer and AIDS patients. We look forward to recognizing them both in this special way for their contributions to the arts and medicine."

Charles Simic
As announced earlier, Charles Simic, the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States, Pulitzer Prize winner, and National Book Award finalist, will address the graduates.

Philip Roth, a 1954 Bucknell graduate who has earned worldwide acclaim and honors for his novels, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts, and the National Book Award, will receive the Stephen W. Taylor Medal, the University's highest honor. He is the 16th recipient since the award was established in 1972.

Lauren Berninger, Class of 2008 president, will deliver the class response. She is a political science major from Hyde Park, N.Y.

The Class of 2008 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 as new members of the Bucknell community. This time will mark their transition to alumni. Bucknell has more than 48,000 living alumni.

First graduates in 1851
Bucknell graduated its first students in 1851 when it awarded seven undergraduate degrees at what today is known as Taylor Hall. Commencement has been held on the Academic Quadrangle since 1970.

This year's commencement will mark the premiere of "Bucknell Fantasy," a new musical work by Jackson Hill, professor of music at Bucknell. The work weaves together a sound tapestry from the University's diverse musical heritage, ranging from "'Ray Bucknell" to the school's Alma Mater.

William Kenny, professor of music, will conduct the Penn Central Wind Band performance starting at 9:15 a.m. || Complete story || Audio: Jackson Hill in his own words

More event highlights
Other graduation weekend event highlights include:

Six Bucknell graduates will be among the 12 cadets from five area colleges and universities who are being commissioned as U.S. Army second lieutenants at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 17, during a commissioning ceremony at Bucknell Hall. Bucknell has had an Army ROTC unit on campus since 1951.

The Rev. Alison L. Boden, dean of religious life and of the chapel at Princeton University, will be the speaker at the 2008 Inter-religious Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center. Boden is best known to the Bucknell community as the former University chaplain (1992-1995) who, during that time, helped create the inter-religious baccalaureate service. 

Visit commencement information for a complete schedule of commencement weekend events.

Contact: Division of Communications