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Monday is the big day for '03 graduates

About 2,250 undergraduates and graduate students are scheduled to receive more than 2,500 degrees at MIT's 137th Commencement on Monday, June 9 on Killian Court.

Traditionally, MIT Commencement exercises are held on Fridays. A change was made this year to avoid a conflict with the observance of the Jewish holiday Shavuot.

About 1,200 bachelor's degrees, 1,100 master's and 220 doctorates will be presented. Some students earn more than one degree.

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell will deliver the principal address. MIT President Charles M. Vest will charge the graduates. Other speakers include Sanith Wijesinghe, president of the Graduate Student Council, and Sina Nazemi, president of the Class of 2003. Catholic Chaplain Paul Reynolds will deliver the invocation.

"Sen. Mitchell is a truly distinguished American and world citizen," Vest said. "His objectivity, integrity and wisdom have earned him respect across the political spectrum. He has grappled effectively with some of the most daunting issues of conflict and peace in this era. We are very fortunate to have him address our graduates and their families."

Mitchell, a senator from 1980-95, served as chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland that resulted in the Good Friday agreement in 1998. He also chaired an international fact-finding committee on violence in the Middle East in 2000. The committee's recommendation, known as the Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush administration, the European Union and many other governments.

A former U.S. Attorney who resigned as a U.S. District Court judge when he was appointed to the Senate, Mitchell is a graduate of Bowdoin College (1954) and the Georgetown University Law Center (1960). He is now a partner in the business law firm Piper Rudnick.

Vest will present the following degrees: bachelor of science; bachelor of science/master of science; bachelor of science/master of engineering; and advanced degrees in the School of Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology. Provost Robert A. Brown will award advanced degrees in the schools of architecture and planning; engineering; and humanities, arts and social sciences; and in the Sloan School of Management.

Following the exercises, a reception will be held for graduates and their guests on the West Campus Plaza.

A special hooding ceremony for Ph.D. recipients will take place on Sunday, June 8 at 1 p.m. in the Johnson Athletic Center. Chancellor Phillip L. Clay will preside.

Remote viewing

Access to Killlian Court is permitted by either Commencement badge or ticket. Security around Killian Court will be strictly controlled. Members of the community are invited to watch the ceremonies on closed-circuit television in selected rooms in buildings 1, 2 and 4; rooms 10-250, 16-160, 26-100, 34-101, 56-114, E25-111, E51-145 and E51-149; Kresge Auditorium and Kresge Little Theater.

Parking restrictions

West Garage, East Garage and the East Garage Annex Lot will be reserved for Commencement guest parking and will be closed to MIT parkers for the entire day. No visitor passes will be accepted. However, those who require handicap and medical reserved parking spaces will be accommodated. Contact the Parking and Transportation Office if you normally park at the West Garage or East Garage Annex Lot and have an urgent business need to park on campus on Commencement day.

Plant sale

After graduates and guests have left the Commencement stage area, the MIT Community Service Fund will host its annual fund-raising sale of the plants on the podium and surrounding stage. Proceeds from sales of the plants, which are made available by the Office of Conference Services and Special Events, support service to the local community by MIT staff and student volunteers.

Click here for complete Commencement information, including the day's schedule.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 2003.

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