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Over 2000 Receive Degrees at MIT Commencement

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology awarded degrees today (June 7) to 2,009 seniors and graduate students at its 130th commencement. About 8,000 relatives and guests attended the outdoor exercises in Killian Court.

Because some students received more than one degree, the total number of degrees--2,290--exceeded the number of students receiving them. Altogether, 1,077 bachelor of science degrees and 1,213 advanced degrees were awarded. The advanced degrees included 261 doctorates, 934 master of science degrees and 18 engineer degrees, a professional degree somewhat beyond a master's degree.

The School of Engineering awarded the most degrees, 1,190, followed by the School of Management, 425; School of Science, 415; School of Architecture and Planning, 126; School of Humanities and Social Science, 122, and the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology, 12.

The degree recipients included 563 women and 531 members of American minority groups.

In the morning, prior to the exercises, the MIT Corporation, the Institute's board of trustees, elected four life members and nine term members at its quarterly meeting.

At 6pm this afternoon, a commissioning ceremony will be held for 21 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 formal commencement activities began with the traditional academic procession, 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.

Dr. Paul E. Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation, presided at the exercises. The invocation was given by Sr. Mary Karen Powers, RSM, MIT Catholic chaplain.

Vice President Albert Gore was the principal speaker. He had asked the graduating seniors to suggest themes, and he drew on these for his talk.

Following the Vice President's speech, Barbara J. Souter, president of the Graduate Student Council, delivered a salute to MIT from the graduate student body. Matthew J. Turner, president of the Class of 1996, presented the senior class gift to Dr. Vest, a fund to support the Public Service Center, through which MIT students reach out to the Cambridge public schools in a variety of programs. President Vest responded that the fund "will help students develop a sense of service and caring for the larger community of which we are a part." He added, "I hope your vision and generosity will serve as a model to other classes."

MIT President Charles M. Vest then gave his charge to the graduates, in which he urged them to "return to a boldness of spirit, thought and action" and be "open to new ideas."

For the awarding of degrees, Dr. Vest presented 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 gave out advanced degrees. The two lines of students approached the stage simultaneously, and their names were announced in an alternating pattern as the degrees were handed out.

Those receiving their doctoral degrees had been hooded in a special ceremony on the day before commencement.

Following the commencement program, President Vest held a reception for graduates and their guests at several locations in or near McDermott Court.

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