MIT will award degrees on Friday, June 7, to some 1,800 seniors and graduate students at its 130th Commencement. About 8,000 relatives and guests will attend the scheduled outdoor exercises in Killian Court.
The formal activities begin at 9:45am with the traditional academic procession. The procession will be led by the chief marshal, Karen W. Arenson, an education writer for The New York Times and 1995-96 president of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae.
The Commencement program, starting at 10am, will have Vice President Albert Gore as the principal speaker. MIT President Charles M. Vest also will speak, giving his charge to the graduates.
Dr. Paul E. Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation, will preside at the exercises. The invocation will be given by Sr. Mary Karen Powers, MIT Catholic chaplain.
Following the Vice President's speech, Barbara J. Souter, president of the Graduate Student Council, will deliver a salute to MIT from the graduate student body. Matthew J. Turner, president of the Class of 1996, will present the senior class gift to Dr. Vest, who will then give the charge.
For the awarding of some 2,000 degrees-a number of graduates get more than one-Dr. Vest will present diplomas to the bachelor of science degree recipients and also those receiving both bachelor of science and master of science degrees, while Provost Joel Moses gives out advanced degrees. The two lines of students approach the stage simultaneously, and the names are announced in an alternating pattern as the degrees are distributed.
Those receiving their doctoral degrees on Friday already will have been hooded in a special ceremony on the day before Commencement, in Rockwell Cage. At that ceremony, department heads or their representatives will assist the school deans in hooding the degree recipients. Receptions will be held for the graduates and their guests.
Following the Commencement program, President Vest will hold a reception for graduates and their guests at several locations in or near McDermott Court.
Only severe weather will cause a change in plans for the commencement festivities. In that event, information will be available on commencement morning through radio announcements and by calling 253-SNOW for a recorded message.
Bad-weather arrangements have been made for a backup program in the Rockwell Cage open to graduating students, faculty and participants in the ceremony-but not families and friends, because of limited space. Families and friends could view a closed-circuit telecast of the ceremony at several locations. Following the ceremony, bachelor of science degrees would be awarded by President Vest in the Johnson Athletics Center, while advanced degrees would be distributed by school deans at locations in their schools.
A second important event awaits some of the graduates, relatives and guests on Commencement day. At 6pm on Friday afternoon, a commissioning ceremony will be held for about 20 graduating cadets and midshipmen in MIT's Army, Air Force and Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units under the masts of the historic frigate USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard Historical Park. The speaker will be Frank Kendall, vice president of engineering for the Raytheon Co. Mr. Kendall, a West Point graduate, has had more than 25 years of engineering, management and national security experience in both the private and government sectors.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 22, 1996.