Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Segway inventor, best-selling author to be UA commencement speakers

Segway inventor, author will speak at McKale events

A health care innovator and the author of a prophetic look at Earth without humans are the May 2009 commencement speakers for the University of Arizona.

Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway Human Transporter and founder of DEKA Research & Development Corp., will regale and inspire UA undergraduates during their May 16 commencement at McKale Center.

Candidates for master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees will receive their accolades the evening before, after listening to UA associate professor Alan Weisman, author of The New York Times best-selling book “The World Without Us.”

UA decided this year to separate the undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies, allowing for two shorter events with more individual recognition instead of one multi-hour ceremony that sometimes devolved into a tortilla-tossing fest.

Jacqueline Mok, Shelton’s chief of staff, said Weisman was chosen in large part due to nominations from graduate students.

“He has a very good reputation among graduate students and we got a lot of feedback from them regarding who they wanted for a commencement speaker,” she said.

Weisman, a prominent environmental writer, teaches a class in international journalism that draws both graduates and undergraduates and takes advantage of his years of experience traveling the world as a journalist.

“The World Without Us” was named Time’s No. 1 nonfiction book of 2007 and Weisman has received numerous awards for his reporting from Latin America, which has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine.

Weisman said he’s looking forward to entertaining and informing the commencement audience.

“If you remember your commencement, you sort of close your eyes at the speaker and wait until it is over,” he said. “The challenge is to find something to speak on that is attention-getting. But there is no more important audience than people who are getting right out of college because it is a pretty complicated world out there they are about to walk into.”

Kamen, who was traveling out of the country Thursday and unavailable for comment, holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents for devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide.

Some of his notable inventions include the first wearable insulin pump for diabetics and the HomeChoice portable peritoneal dialysis machine.

He has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and the Lemelson-MIT Prize and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2005.

Kamen’s chief of staff, Kerri Maxwell, said the inventor is excited about speaking at commencement and touring some of UA’s technology and research facilities.

Arizona State University announced last month that President Obama would be its commencement speaker in May.



• WHAT: The University of Arizona’s 140th commencement.

•WHEN: Master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees will be awarded at 7:30 p.m., May 15. Undergraduate degrees will be awarded at 8 a.m. May 16.

•WHERE: McKale Memorial Center

•PARKING: Free parking is available in any surface lot or parking garage. Handicap drop-off is on Fred Enke Drive on the south side of McKale Memorial Center.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service