Commencement Will Honor 6,020 Graduates

Contact: Ralph Derickson

COMMENCEMENT DETAILS

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The number of graduates participating in the 2004 Commencement ceremony will include 920 candidates for degrees who finished their academic degree work in the summer of 2003; 1,332 who finished their work in the fall of 2003; and 3,768 who completed their work this spring.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 23, 2004) -- About 6,020 candidates for degrees – including two students who have been awarded $120,000 in National Science Foundation grants to pursue their graduate studies – will be honored at the University of Kentucky’s 137th Commencement set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8, in downtown Lexington.

Commencement coordinator T. Lynn Williamson and chair of the Commencement Committee John Herbst said several factors convinced the university to hold the annual Commencement ceremony in the Lexington Center Complex and Rupp Arena instead of UK’s Memorial Coliseum.

“The added convenience for the students, faculty, family members and friends of the graduates is well worth the effort that has been required to make this historic change,” Herbst said.

“With the recent major renovations, Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center will also accommodate many more visitors and permit the university to have numerous ceremonies in air-conditioned facilities in a more compact time than is possible on the campus,” Williamson added.

The Commencement procession will line up in the Cox Street parking lot before the graduation ceremony begins.

The number of graduates participating in the 2004 Commencement ceremony will include 920 candidates for degrees who finished their academic degree work in the summer of 2003; 1,332 who finished their work in the fall of 2003; and 3,768 who completed their work this spring.

The two UK students who received the NSF graduate fellowships are John H. “Jack” Challis of Erlanger, Ky., and Ryan Gabbard of Louisville. Both students were National Merit Scholars and accepted Singletary Scholarships to attend UK. Both reside in Boyd Hall, UK’s Honors Program residence hall, and they share the leadership of UK’s mathematics club.

Challis will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in physics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the UK College of Arts and Sciences before attending graduate school at Yale University this fall. Gabbard will receive a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a degree in linguistics. He will pursue his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The graduating student speaker will be Elizabethtown native Donald Clyde “D.C.” Storm, who will receive a degree in accounting and finance.

The Commencement speaker will be UK alumnus George Carlton Wright, president of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. Wright also will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the ceremony. A native of Lexington, Wright graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from UK in 1972 and a master's degree in history in 1974. He received a doctorate in history from Duke University in 1977.

John D. Baxter, professor of medicine, biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California San Francisco, and James W. Stuckert, chairman and chief executive officer of J.J.B. Hilliard Lyons Inc., will receive honorary doctorates as well. Baxter, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UK in 1962, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree. A past president of the UK National Alumni Association, Stuckert graduated from UK in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and earned a master's degree in business administration in 1961. He will be presented an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

Three persons – a graduating male and female student and a member of the community – also will receive Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallions at the ceremony. The Sullivan medallions are given to persons whose “characteristics of heart, mind and conduct evince a spirit of love and helpfulness to other men and women.”

The 2004 Sullivan Medallion winners are Amelia C. Brown of Lexington, who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in family and consumer sciences; Albert Kalim of Lexington who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science; and Virginia Marsh Bell of Lexington, a graduate of the UK College of Social Work.

Bell completed a master’s of social work at UK 35 years after earning a bachelor’s degree at Transylvania University and embarked on a new, 20-year career as a family counselor in UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Melanie D. Otis, an assistant professor in the UK College of Social Work who nominated Bell for the Sullivan Medallion, said Bell “…exceeded even the highest expectations and brought new insights to her job – insights that spearheaded a whole new approach to meeting the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Bell, now 81, has developed a model program that has been used nationally and internationally in the care and support of persons with Alzheimer’s disease. She has co-authored three books on the subject, most notably “The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care” (1996, Health Professions Press).

Brown, a student ambassador in the College of Agriculture School of Human Environmental Sciences, has been very active in public service programs while a student at UK. Among the projects she was involved in were “Gift of Life,” a challenge contest to create organ donor awareness; “Stop the Violence,” which makes school children aware of school violence and how to prevent it; “Relay for Life,” a national fund-raiser for cancer research; “Service for Sight;” and “Jarrett’s Joy Cart,” which collects toys for children with cancer. She also served as a volunteer in the Ronald McDonald House, which houses families who have family members in Lexington hospitals.

Kalim, who served as president of the UK International Student Council, is very active in campus leadership, particularly as it relates to assisting international students, including volunteering to assist them with their immigration paperwork. One of Kalim’s nominators, John Herbst, director of the UK Student Center, said, “He has expressed himself as a leader genuinely interested in people and their welfare, society and government, humanitarian ideals, and the individual’s needs.”

The Sturgill Award for graduate research, which carries a $2,000 stipend, will be presented to Richard Milich, professor and associate chair of psychology, UK College of Arts and Sciences, and administrative director of the UK Center for Drug Abuse Research Translation.

The Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize, which carries a $5,000 stipend, will be presented to Dibakar Bhattacharya, the University Alumni Professor of chemical and materials engineering, College of Engineering.


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