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Thousands prepare for Commencement '99 with 'Click and Clack'

President Charles M. Vest and Provost Robert A. Brown will present degrees to about 2,400 undergraduates and graduate students at MIT's 133rd Commencement on Friday, June 4. Dr. Brown will be presiding at his first Commencement as provost.

The Commencement Committee has announced the full program for the 1,100 seniors, 1,300 graduate students and 9,000 relatives and friends expected to attend the ceremonies on Killian Court.

The Commencement address will be given by MIT graduates Tom and Ray Magliozzi, known as "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers," hosts of the NPR radio series Car Talk. The traditional charge to the graduates will be given by President Vest.

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow will preside at the hooding ceremony for persons receiving doctoral degrees at 1pm on Thursday, June 3 in Rockwell Cage.

Other speakers at this year's Commencement will include Brian J. Schneider, president of the Graduate Student Council, and Pooja Shukla, president of the Class of 1999. The invocation will be given by Rabbi Joshua M. Plaut, MIT's Jewish chaplain.

According to Professor Eric L. Grimson of electrical engineering and computer science, chair of the Commencement Committee, Friday's formal activities will begin at 9:45am with the traditional academic procession. It will leave from the 77 Massachusetts Avenue entrance to the Institute, moving south for a short distance and then east on Memorial Drive to Killian Court. The procession will be led by the chief marshal, John Morefield, 1998-99 president of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae and vice president of technonolgy for IDG Corp.

Dr. Vest will present diplomas to the bachelor of science degree recipients and those receiving both bachelor of science and master of science degrees, while Provost Brown will give out the doctoral, engineering and other master's degrees. The two lines of students will approach the stage simultaneously as their names are announced in an alternating pattern.

Following the Commencement program, President and Mrs. Rebecca Vest will hold a reception for graduates and their guests at several locations in or near McDermott Court.

A second important event awaits some of the graduates, relatives and guests on Commencement day. At 6pm on June 4, a commissioning ceremony will be held for 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 Rear Admiral John B. Padgett III, commander of Submarine Group Two in Groton, CT.

The Commencement speakers last year were President William J. Clinton and Dr. David Ho, scientific director and chief executive officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke in 1997 and Vice President Albert Gore Jr. in 1996.

A version of this article appeared in the May 19, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 31).

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