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Commencement today- Iacocca Appearance May Cause Record Attendance


(By Diana ben-Aaron)

A record attendance is expected at MIT's 119th commencement exercises, which begin at 10 am today in Killian Court. Over 1700 seniors and graduate students will receive their degrees.

A large graduating class and the popularity of commencement speaker Lee A. Iacocca, chairman and chief executive of Chrysler Corporation, may combine to add more than 1000 spectators to the 6000 usually expected for commencement, according to Dorothy Bowe, a member of the Commencement Committee.

The ceremony, which normally lasts until approximately 2 pm, will be longer than usual this year, according to Bowe. "Iacocca has indicated that his speech will be long, and also the degree presentation will take longer," she said.

Over 6500 tickets had been given out by 5 pm Friday, according to the MIT Information Office. This is a higher number than usual, an Information Office official said. Tickets were still available at 8 am this morning to graduates who had not previously picked them up.

The academic procession, consisting of dignitaries, faculty, and graduates in academic robes, will leave duPont Gymnasium at 9:30 am and proceed down Massachusetts Avenue, down Memorial Drive, and into Killian Court. Mary Frances Wagley '47, president of the Alumni Association, will lead the procession.

Wagley will pick up the four-foot high gold mace traditionally carried by the president of the Alumni Association as she enters the court, and hold it on a stand as the procession files past her. This is a change from previous years, when taller Alumni Association presidents carried the heavy sceptre throughout the procession.

"The problem is not weight so much as balance," Bowe said. "The staff is top-heavy, and a lot of people have had trouble carrying it. The stand will be used in the future."

David S. Saxon '41, chairman of the MIT Corporation, will lead the dignitaries in the academic procession and will preside at commencement. MIT Provost Francis E. Low will lead the deans of schools, and Professor Judith T. Kildow will lead the faculty. Dean for Affairs Shirley M. McBay will lead the graduating students.

Rabbi Daniel Shevitz, MIT Religious Counselor, will present the invocation at the beginning of the ceremony.

Iacocca's address is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:35 am. He has not indicated what his topic will be and does not plan to release copies of his speech, according to the MIT News Office.

Iacocca is the fourth outside speaker at an MIT commencement since 1963. The president of the Institute delivered the commencement address at the intervening 18 commencements.

Following Iaccocca's speech, Inge Gedo, president of the Class of 1985, will present the Class Gift to President Paul E. Gray '54. Gray will then address the graduates briefly.

After the speeches, Gray will confer degrees on each graduating student while the deans of their respective schools read their names. Few other schools of MIT's size present degrees to each graduate individually in one large ceremony.

MIT commencements have been held in Killian Court since 1979. Previous commencement sites included MIT's Rockwell Cage, Symphony Hall, and Trinity Church.

The foul-weather location for the ceremony is the New Athletic Center, but storms have not driven MIT's commencement indoors in the 7 years it has been held outdoors. Advance weather forecasts indicated a clear day today, Bowe said.

Receptions for graduating seniors and their families will be held following Commencement. The reception for the School of Engineering will be held in duPont Court outside Building 1, and the receptions for all other schools will be held in Lowell Court outside Building 2.

1982 - 1798 to 1620

1983 - 1761 to 1616

1984 - 1849 to 1672

1985 - many to more than 1700