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05-12-2012

Over 600 Students Receive Degrees at Clarkson University's 119th Commencement Ceremony

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/commencement2012.jpg.]

More than 600 Clarkson University students from 22 states, 26 countries and 57 New York state counties were granted bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Clarkson University’s 119th commencement today, Saturday, May 12. (Nearly 200 additional students received degrees in the winter.)

Students at Clarkson University's May 12, 2012, CommencementThe weekend was also marked by the commissioning of United States Army and United States Air Force officers on Friday.

Receiving honorary degrees and making short addresses were:

- Dr. David G. Nathan M.D., president emeritus of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, physician-in-chief emeritus at Children's Hospital Boston, and Robert A. Stranahan Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

- Radovan Stanislav Pejovnik, rector and professor of materials science at the University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia

- George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University

Douglas G. Bohl, an associate professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering in Clarkson University’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering, and Diego C. Nocetti, an associate professor of economics and finance in the Clarkson University School of Business, were both recipients of a John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award. The $1,500 research accounts are presented to "faculty members who have shown promise in engineering, business, liberal arts or scientific research."

Christopher C. Robinson, an associate professor of political science in Clarkson University’s School of Arts & Sciences, was awarded the Clarkson University Distinguished Teaching Award. The $1,500 prize is given "in recognition of the importance of superior teaching." Candidates are nominated for the award by Clarkson alumni and the final selection is made by a faculty committee.  

Senior Matthew R. Gammariello of Webster, N.Y., was awarded the Levinus Clarkson Award, and senior James C. “Jamie” Davis of Lake Katrine, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award. Both are $1,000 prizes given to "a student who demonstrates the best combination of scholarship and promise of outstanding professional achievement."

In addressing the Class of 2012, Nathan said, “Aristotle once called friendship one soul inhabiting two bodies. Given the joy of friendship and in tribute to the friends that all of you have made here, my advice to you today is to treasure your friendships. …

"Much of life’s accomplishments are based on the capacity to work well with colleagues of all types and backgrounds. Friendship is the fundamental basis of teamwork. And only the latter will lead to the solutions of life’s challenges for which Clarkson has so ably prepared you. … As a new friend and honorary classmate, I salute you.”

Pejovnik shared with the graduates simple but profound wisdom from The Little Prince by Antoinne de Saint-Exupery: "The Little Prince lives on a very small planet. There are only three volcanoes on this planet and one beautiful rose. And what makes this rose so unique is [that] it is the only one. And so is your degree. Your degree is the only one.

"So take care of this degree. Pay attention to this degree. Protect it against the wind. Give water to this degree every day. And I believe this will make your life happy. Your whole life is in front of you and I wish you a lot of success and I am very proud that I am joining you today."

In addressing the graduates, Schatz said, “Forty-one years ago I sat where you are now today and I wondered, what is the future going to bring?

"The good news for me, and this news also applies to you, is that I had a Clarkson education. I had the grounding of fundamentals and I also had the training for independent thinking. I had the role models; I had the professors who had not only educated me, but who became my friends and who have played a huge role throughout my career.

"Let me conclude by simply saying, good luck to you all. Have fun. I look forward to hearing about the great things that you will accomplish in the future." 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was also at the ceremony.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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