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Former UChicago Head Will Speak at Commencement

By Shang-Lin Chuang
Associate News Editor

Hanna H. Gray, president emeritus of the University of Chicago, has been chosen as the the Commencement speaker for the June 9 ceremonies.

Gray, a distinguished history scholar, is a former provost at Yale University and a former dean at Northwestern University.

A Commencement Committee was created in October to recommend speaker choices to President Charles M. Vest, according to Class of 1995 President Mehran Islam '95, a member of the committee.

The committee also included Graduate Student Council President Roger G. Kermode G and administrators in the president's Office, Islam said.

Vest may choose from the list of candidates prepared by the committee, or make his own independent choice, Islam said.

Gray is only the third woman to speak at Commencement since the Institute began inviting guest speakers in 1982; Katherine Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company was the speaker that year.

"The basic philosophy behind choosing a speaker is choosing someone who will be be able to give a good, thought-provoking speech that will play a tremendous role in influencing the emotions of students on that very special day," Islam said.

"The speaker should have the students think about what they have gained in the four years of college and what they are moving forward to," Islam said.

The announcement comes less than eight weeks before Commencement, one of the latest announcements in the last several years. The last two announcements came before mid-February.

Former Yale provost

Gray was president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993.

She taught history at the University of Chicago from 1961 to 1972 focusing on the history of humanism, political and historical thought, and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation. She is now the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History in the university's Department of History.

Gray received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1950 and her PhD in history from Harvard University in 1957. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University from 195052.

Gray became an assistant professor of history at Chicago in 1961 and associate professor in 1964.

She was appointed dean of the college of arts and sciences and professor of history at Northwestern University in 1972.

In 1974, Gray moved to Yale University as provost and professor of history. She served as acting president of Yale from 1977 to 1978.

Gray has been a Fellow of the Newberry Library, a Fellow of the Center of Behavioral Sciences, a visiting scholar at that center, a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and a visiting scholar for Phi Beta Kappa. She is also an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford.

Gray holds honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities, including Oxford, Yale, Brown University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Duke University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Toronto.

She is a member or a fellow of several professional organizations: the Renaissance Society of America, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education, the Council on Foreign Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations of New York.