May 4, 1998
Volume 50, No. 31
University readies for commencement, speaker Dalai Lama
Bringing foreign dignitaries and heads of state to campus for commencement-even if they are in exile-involves quite a bit more maneuvering than usual. "Those of us involved in planning commencement feel as if we are rolling along toward May 11 with increasing speed, like Amtrak's Empire Builder opening the throttle across the northern plains," University Secretary Gary Hauk wrote to families of the graduates. "A thousand details present themselves on the horizon and then, with alarming velocity, zip past."
Still, Emory had practice with former Soviet leaders Eduard Shevardnarze in 1991 and Mikhail Gorbechev in 1992, and the University is ready to host this year's speaker, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, exiled spiritual leader to some 6 million Tibetans. The Quadrangle will be fenced this year for security, said Hauk. "Tickets will not be required, but bags will be checked as people come in the gates."
Like the graduates, the Dalai Lama will have a busy weekend before he steps onto the podium to give his address and receive an honorary degree at Emory's 153rd commencement, which begins at 8:30 a.m. He'll conduct two 90-minute teaching sessions here on Sunday, May 10 (see sidebar). He'll also give a 6 p.m. public lecture commencement day at the P.E. Center.
Joining the Dalai Lama as honorary degree candidates are biologist and National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts, U.S. Circuit Judge Phyllis Kravitch and Georgia Gov. Zell Miller. Emory Board Chairman Brad Currey will deliver Oxford's commencement address Saturday, May 9, at 10 a.m.
According to preliminary information from the Registrar's Office, which could change before commencement, there are 3,232 candidates for Emory degrees. As in the past, female graduates will outnumber men-55 to 45 percent.
This year's graduates hail from 47 states and 80 foreign countries; the youngest among them is a 19-year-old dual degree recipient (BA/MA in English), the oldest is a 60-year-old master's of divinity candidate. The oldest undergraduate is a 49-year-old bachelor's of nursing candidate. More than 45 graduates will be over the age of 50, and 12 are veterans.
The average GPA for Emory College graduates is 3.2; 32 percent of them have GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Forty-seven dual degrees are scheduled to be awarded at Monday's ceremony, and individual schools will hold their diploma ceremonies beginning at 10:30 a.m. For a complete list of events, visit the 1998 commencement web site at <http://www.emory.edu/COMMENCEMENT/>.