Staff who wish to attend commencement this year will notice a couple of significant changes from the ceremonies of recent years; no tickets will be required, and no fence will be erected around the quadrangle.
Tickets for commencement were first required in 1992, when former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was the speaker. That also was the first year a fence was built around the quadrangle to control access to the event.
Assistant University Secretary Mary Anne Lindskog, chair of the Commencement Committee, said the change was made this year as the result of recommendations by a subcommittee of the Commencement Committee. Lindskog said the fence and tickets were instituted at a time when tight security was needed to accommodate speakers from the realm of international politics. While more recent speakers have been distinguished in their fields, Lindskog said their presence has not necessitated the tight security called for in earlier years, a position also supported by President Bill Chace.
In case of rain, tickets will be required for admission to the College diploma ceremony in the P.E. Center and the Graduate School diploma ceremony in Glenn Memorial Auditorium.
Another change for commencement this year involves moving the presentation of Ph.D. diplomas from the central ceremony to the Graduate School diploma ceremony. A primary reason for the move, said Lindskog, is the increasing amount of time it takes at the central ceremony to present diplomas to an ever-increasing number of Ph.D.s.
The committee also worked with the Information Technology Division this year to place the Commencement Magazine on the World Wide Web for the first time. Lindskog said this allows the committee to provide last-minute information to graduates more quickly. The Web address is <http://www.emory.edu/COMMENCEMENT>.
Commencement will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the quadrangle on Monday, May 13. The featured speaker at the central ceremony is Johnnetta B. Cole, president of Atlanta's Spelman College and a nationally recognized leader in the education field. The ceremony, led by President Bill Chace, also will include presentations of major faculty and student awards, the presentation of approximately 3,000 candidates for degrees, and the presentation of seven honorary degrees.
In addition to Cole, honorary degrees will be presented to: Morris B. Abram, a leading figure in the civil rights movement in the South; Ely R. Callaway Jr., a 1940 graduate of Emory College whose gift to Emory has made possible the renovation of the former Physics Building into the Walker-Callaway Center; William (Billy) Payne, president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games; Celestine Sibley, beloved Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist and community citizen; and Daniel C. Tosteson, dean of the Harvard Medical School and the driving force behind the "New Pathway" method of medical education.
Because of a recent change in his schedule, Nigerian playwright, poet and novelist Wole Soyinka will be able to attend commencement and receive an honorary degree. Recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, Soyinka served as a visiting distinguished professor in African American Studies at Emory during spring semester. Soyinka was the topic of this year's Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature delivered at Emory by Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University.
Following the central commencement ceremony, graduates will go to individual college and school ceremonies at various campus locations to receive their diplomas.
Oxford College will hold its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. on the Oxford Green. George Jones, professor of biology and former dean of the Graduate School, will deliver the address.