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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

April 20, 2000
Media contact:
Amanda Mazur (312) 996-7681; amazur@uic.edu



UIC Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 7
10 a.m.


UIC Pavilion
525 S. Racine Ave. (at Harrison Street)


More than 5,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees are expected to participate in the annual pageantry as UIC holds its commencement ceremony in the Pavilion.

University of Illinois President James Stukel and Interim Chancellor Sylvia Manning will host a reception for graduates and their guests in a tent in Lot 11, on Harrison Street east of the Pavilion, starting at 8:15 a.m.

This year's commencement speaker is former Governor James R. Thompson. He is also the first recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Public Service. Thompson has been serving the citizens of Illinois for more than 40 years, including an unprecedented four terms as governor.

As governor, Thompson was a great supporter of public education. Thompson increased funding for higher education, with colleges and universities receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in new facilities. He also expanded financial aid and implemented new programs to improve minority achievement in higher education.

During his time in office, Thompson placed great emphasis on economic development. He led trade missions, opened foreign trade and tourism offices, and encouraged closer links between business and educational institutions to prepare workers and develop new technologies.

"We are pleased to present this award to Governor James Thompson in recognition of his more than the four decades of service to the people of Illinois," said Manning.

This year's student speaker is Rajeev Garg, a biological sciences major who graduated from St. Bede Academy in Peru, IL. Garg will also be awarded the 2000 Donald and Leah Riddle Prize, which honors an outstanding graduating senior.

Others delivering remarks are President Stukel, Interim Chancellor Manning and University Trustee Roger Plummer.

UIC will present two honorary doctorates of humane letters. The recipients are:

  • Leon Despres, former city official, parliamentarian and teacher, who served for 20 years as an independent alderman in the 5th Ward. Despres was a key figure in civic improvements, education, and ethics and good government.

  • Susan Hendrickson, explorer, diver and fossil hunter. Hendrickson is most widely known for discovering Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever found. Although not formally trained, Hendrickson became prolific in her chosen profession and highly respected by colleagues, universities and museums.

    University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Awards will be presented to cancer researcher Emil Freireich (M.D. '49) and associate professor of social work Mary Nelums (M.S. '75 and Ph.D. '88).

    The University of Illinois Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award will be presented to businessman William Merchantz (B.A. '79).

    With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

    - UIC -


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