MIT will award degrees to about 2,035 seniors and graduate students at its 131st Commencement on Friday, June 6. About 8,000 relatives and guests are expected to attend the outdoor exercises in Killian Court, weather permitting. As of Tuesday, the long-range forecast calls for a partly cloudy day with temperatures between 65' and 75'.
In the event of bad weather, a program for graduating students, faculty and participants in the ceremony--but not families and friends because of limited space--will take place in the Rockwell Cage. Families and friends would 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 five different locations.
Only severe weather could cause this change in plans. In that event, information will be available on Commencement morning through radio announcements and by calling x3-7669 for a recorded message.
The principal speaker, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is expected to draw parallels in his 20-minute speech between the goals of scientists and the UN and the methods used to achieve these goals. Mr. Annan, who will be coming directly from the Organization for African Unity summit conference in Zimbabwe, received the SM from the Sloan School of Management in 1972.
Because some students receive more than one degree, the total number of degrees--about 2,280--exceeds the number of students receiving them.
Dr. Paul E. Gray, outgoing chairman of the Corporation, will preside for the last time at Commencement. Dr. Gray will continue to teach at MIT.
The formal activities begin with the traditional academic procession led by the chief marshal, DuWayne J. Peterson Jr., president of a consulting firm in Pasadena, CA, and 1996-97 president of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae. The invocation will be given by Rev. Constance Parvey, MIT's Lutheran chaplain.
Following the Secretary General's speech, Constantine Morfopoulos, president of the Graduate Student Council, will deliver a salute to MIT from the graduate student body. Pardis Sabeti, president of the Class of 1997, will present the senior class gift to Dr. Vest, who will then deliver his charge to the graduates.
After the degrees have been presented, Mr. Peterson will offer congratulations to the new graduates from the reunion classes of 1947 and 1972 and welcome them into "the most select company of men and women who are the MIT alumni and alumnae."
Before the ceremony, the MIT Brass Ensemble and the Boston Brass Ensemble will provide musical preludes. The National Anthem will be sung by Philip Lima, assistant benefits manager of retirement programs for the Personnel Office.
Those receiving doctoral degrees will be hooded in a special ceremony tomorrow (Thursday, June 5).
Following the Commencement program, President Vest and Mrs. Rebecca Vest will host a reception for graduates and their guests at several locations in or near McDermott Court.
At 6pm on Friday, a commissioning ceremony will be held for 15 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.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 1997.