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No Commencement Speaker Named Yet

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Editor in Chief

With only 10 weeks left until Commencement, President Charles M. Vest has yet to announce a speaker for the June 9 graduation ceremony. The previous two Commencement speakers were announced 16 and 19 weeks before the ceremony.

The delay does not worry Director of Special Events Mary L. Morrissey, who said there is "no particular zero hour" by which a speaker has to be announced. "Sometimes we hear very early, sometimes we have to wait," she said.

Last year's Commencement took place May 27 and the choice of speaker, The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, was announced Feb. 14. The year before, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari was announced as the speaker for the May 28 ceremony on Jan. 13.

The latest a Commencement speaker was announced in the past five years was when then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin PhD '66 was named on March 31, 1992 to speak at the June 1 event.

A subgroup of the Commencement Committee submitted a short list of 10 to 15 names for the president to consider, Morrissey said. Vest can choose a speaker from that list, or pick someone else "if he decides he would like to have somebody particular," she said.

Harvard conflict not a problem

MIT's Commencement occurs the day after Harvard University's ceremonies, but that should not cause any large problems, Morrissey said.

MIT and Harvard officials met to discuss the dilemma and logistical concerns earlier this year, but neither school changed its date, according to Grace Scheibner, Harvard's director of commencement. "Based on that meeting, which was very favorable and quite productive, things are very much under control," Scheibner said.

Of the major area hotels, the Marriott, the Hyatt Regency, and the Inn at Harvard are sold out for the days surrounding Commencement, while the Royal Sonesta and the Charles Hotel still have some rooms open, according to hotel staff.

Vest could not be reached for comment yesterday.