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1712 to Graduate at Commencement

(By Niraj S. Desai)

A total of 1712 seniors and graduate students will receive some 1900 degrees today at MIT's 124th Commencement.

Colombian President Virgilio Barco '43 will deliver the commencement address to the graduates and their relatives and guests at the exercises in Killian Court.

Barco, who will step down in August after four years as president, has gained international attention for his declared war against drug traffickers in Colombia, and his staunch refusal to negotiate with drug kingpins.

In October 1989, the MIT Corporation adopted a resolution saluting Barco "for his courageous leadership of Colombia during a time of formidable challenge." Drug traf

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fickers are believed to have killed hundreds of Colombians, including three presidential candidates, during the nation's just-completed election campaign.

Barco's role in this year's Commencement has prompted unusual security measures, including the issuance of special guidelines and the presence of the US Secret Service.

Barco received an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from MIT in 1943, and pursued graduate studies in economics here in the early 1950s. A member of the MIT Corporation from 1970 to 1980, Barco has also served on several Institute visiting committees in the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Civil Engineering, and in the Center for International Studies.

Activities begin with procession

Commencement activities will begin at 9:45 am with the academic procession from 77 Massachusetts Avenue to Killian Court via Memorial Drive. Chief Marshall Harris Weinstein '56, president of the Alumni Association, will lead the procession.

After MIT Corporation Chairman David S. Saxon '41 opens the graduation exercises, Rev. Virginia W. G. Army, the daughter of President Paul E. Gray '54 and Priscilla Gray, will give the invocation.

Barco will then deliver the commencement address. Following his speech, Graduate Student Council President Michael J. Warwick will salute MIT on behalf of the graduate student body, and Class of 1990 President Joseph R. Babiec Jr. will present the senior class gift to President Gray.

Gray will deliver the traditional charge to the graduates, and then will join Provost John M. Deutch '61 in awarding the degrees. Gray will hand out the bachelor of science degrees and Deutch the advanced degrees as two lines of students approach the stage simultaneously. The names of students will be announced in an alternating pattern as the degrees are handed out.

The Institute today will award 958 bachelor's degrees, 707 master's degrees, 23 engineer degrees, and 195 doctorates -- a total of 1883. Some students receive more than one degree. The degree recipients include 503 women.

Today's Commencement is the last for Saxon, Gray and Deutch in their respective roles. Saxon plans to retire, Gray to succeed Saxon, and Deutch to return to teaching and research this year. The three had planned to step aside on June 30, but agreed to stay on after the presidential search committees' choice for a successor to Gray refused the position. A new president is not expected to be named before the end of the month.

Special hooding ceremony

Those students receiving doctoral degrees were hooded yesterday in a special ceremony, held for the first time. At the ceremony in Kresge Auditorium, department heads or their representatives assisted the school deans in hooding the degree recipients.

At 5 pm today, a commissioning ceremony will be held for 62 cadets and midshipmen in MIT's Army, Air Force and Navy Reserve Officers' Training Corps units alongside the historic frigate USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard Historical Park.

Gray will introduce the guest speaker and commission officer, Rear Admiral David M. Goebel SM '65 (USN), who is deputy director for international negotiations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Music in Killian Court will be presented by the Boston Brass Ensemble, conducted by Senior Lecturer John Corley. The Northeast Navy Band will provide music at the Charlestown Navy Yard.