Citizen Staff Writer
RENÉE SCHAFER HORTON
University commencements can sometimes produce widespread ennui among graduates and their well-wishers because of the excruciating length of the ceremonies.
There will be less chance of that rampant boredom at the 140th University of Arizona commencement this year because the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies are being shortened and separated by about 12 hours.
About 1,300 masters, specialist and doctoral degrees will be awarded by UA President Robert N. Shelton at 7:30 p.m. May 15 at McKale Memorial Center.
He’ll return at 8 a.m. May 16 to confer degrees upon the 4,895 undergraduates.
Many of those undergrads will have already participated in convocations at their individual colleges, which begin Wednesday with the College of Humanities graduate convocation.
Alan Weisman, UA associate professor of journalism and Latin American studies and author of “The World Without Us,” will be the keynote speaker at the May 15 ceremony.
Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter, will address the undergraduates May 16 and will receive an honorary degree.
UA will award a number of honorary degrees during the graduate commencement May 15, including:
• Doctor of Humanities to Nadine Mathis Basha, founder of the Children’s Action Alliance and Summa Associates, a management firm specializing in corporate child care and elder care services.
• Doctor of Science to Edward Perry Bass, president of Fine Line Inc. and founding trustee of the Philecology Trust, which funds select nonprofit ecological interests.
• Doctor of Fine Arts to UA alumnus John Kilkenny, executive vice president at Twentieth Century Fox and head of the studio’s visual effects department. Kilkenny is working with UA in exploring the development of the nation’s first professional visual effects production training program.
• Doctor of Letters to Steve W. Lynn, vice president of Tucson Electric Power Co. and a UA alumnus.
• Doctor of Humane Letters to Ned L. Norris Jr., chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and member of Shelton’s Native American Advisory Council,
• Doctor of Humane Letters to Cele Peterson, a fashion designer, entrepreneur, founder of the Tucson Children’s Museum and co-founder of Casa de Los Niños, the first crisis nursery in the U.S.
Six students will be honored during the undergraduate ceremony Saturday:
• Merrill P. Freeman Medals will be awarded to Jessica Anderson, a bachelor of science candidate and honors marketing major, and Craig Sheedy, an honors student with a double major in health sciences and molecular biophysics and physiology.
• Robie Gold Medals will be awarded to Joseph Fu, a bachelor of science candidate in molecular biology, microbiology and philosophy, and Justine Schluntz, a member of the UA swim team graduating summa cum laude from the College of Engineering with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.
• Robert Logan Nugent Medals will be awarded to Nancy Hernandez, graduating with a bachelor of science dual major in accounting and business economics, and Abraham Itty who will graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in molecular and cellular biology and a bachelor of science in health sciences in physiology.
Pima Community College, which is commemorating its 40th anniversary this year, will celebrate spring commencement at 7 p.m. May 21 at the Tucson Arena.
Heather Myers will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony, following PCC’s tradition of having a student address the graduating class.
Myers, who will receive an associate of business administration degree, was also the commencement speaker for Aztec Middle College’s first graduating class in 2000. She enrolled in Aztec after having a child at 16 and dropping out of high school. She received a high school diploma while getting college credit.