University at Albany Announces
Commencement Weekend 2003
Contact: Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980
Karl Luntta (518) 265-4114 cell
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 14, 2003) -- The
University at Albany will hold its Commencement Weekend 2003,
which includes a formal graduate commencement ceremony on
May 17, the main undergraduate degree conferral ceremony
on May 18 and 30 small departmental and school recognition
ceremonies throughout the weekend. An estimated 2,700 students
are expected to participate in the 159th commencement ceremonies
including 1,700 undergraduate, 870 master’s and 134 doctoral
The graduate commencement will be held at
the uptown campus Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC)
17, at 9 a.m. Catherine Bertini, a 1971 graduate of the University
at Albany and undersecretary-general for management to United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will address the graduates
and receive the Medallion of the University. Prior to her
current position, Bertini served for 10 years as executive
director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP),
the world’s largest international humanitarian agency. In
that role, she assisted hundreds of millions of victims of
wars and natural disasters throughout Africa, Asia, Latin
America, the Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union. She currently is responsible for all
administrative and managerial matters in the United Nations
worldwide, including the leadership and management of U.N.
senior officials dealing with budget, finance, human resources,
management policy development, information systems, purchasing,
travel, investments, facilities management and security of
the staff in New York City. (Please see the separate news
release about graduate commencement titled "U.N. Official
Catherine Bertini '71 to Deliver Keynote Address at UAlbany's
Graduate Commencement 2003" for more details).
degree conferral ceremony will take place on Sunday, May
18, at 10 a.m. on the Science Library lawn,
uptown campus. UAlbany Associate Vice President for Academic
Affairs and Educational Opportunities Program Director
Carson Carr, Jr., Ed.D., will deliver the address. Carr joined
University in 1985. Under his leadership the graduation
rate of the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) doubled
more than 50 percent. For the past eight years, students
in UAlbany’s EOP program have exceeded the national graduation
rate for all students entering four-year institutions.
For those EOP students entering in 1995, the graduation rate
was 64 percent. In 2001, Carr became one of the first individuals
ever to be honored with the Governor’s Tribute to African-American
Leaders of Excellence in State Service Award.
ceremonies feature speakers:
Congressman John Sweeney is
scheduled to speak at the Rockefeller College of Public
Affairs and Policy ceremony Sunday at 12:30
p.m. in Page Hall (downtown campus).
Rex Smith, vice president and editor of the Albany Times
Union, will speak at the Department of Communication’s ceremony
Saturday at 7 p.m. in the RACC (uptown campus).
Dr. David Fleming ’75, deputy director for
Science and Public Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention,
will speak at the School of Public Health ceremony Saturday
at 2 p.m. at UAlbany's East Campus in Rensselaer. Fleming
received his B.S. in biology.
Steven Pleydle ’78, director
of the Tax and Fiscal Studies Ways and Means Committee
of the New York State Assembly,
will speak at the economics department ceremony Saturday
at 3 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom (uptown campus).
Pleydle received his B.A. in economics.
In 1926, when UAlbany was the New York State
College for Teachers, a simple, traditional ceremony was
held in what
is now the Dewey Graduate Library. By 1929, the class had
grown to 250 students, and President Abram Brubacher ordered
the diplomas to be handed out by rows. By 1950, students
stood to have their degrees conferred en masse.
Hitchcock appointed a Graduation Task Force in 2001 to review
all commencement activities at the University
at Albany. In response to requests from undergraduates, the
University moved to a "Commencement Weekend" format
that has restored the intimacy of individual recognition
ceremonies as well as reemphasized University traditions.
same year, graduation returned to the University from the
Pepsi Arena in downtown Albany where it was held for
a decade, and was decentralized into departmental and school
recognition ceremonies in which students are recognized
individually by their own faculty in front of their families
On Saturday afternoon (May 17), there is a family picnic
on the Podium that has catered to 8,000 people for each
of the last two years. UAlbany's Commencement Weekend also
Torch Night (May 17 at 8:30 p.m., on the Podium, uptown
campus), a traditional ceremony in which the senior class
torch” to the junior class, along with a fireworks display.
more information on commencement, visit www.albany.edu/commencement.
All commencement activities will take place, rain or
shine, as scheduled. In the event of severe weather (lightning/high
winds), an announcement will be posted on the Web site
and the Commencement Info Line (518) 442-5310, noting