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1,794 Students to Graduate Today

By Amy I. Hsu
Staff Reporter

Today the well-kept grass of Killian Court will host MIT's 129th Commencement exercises, bringing together 1,794 graduates and an estimated 8,000 relatives and guests.

A total of 2,026 degrees, 961 undergraduate and 1,065 advanced, will be awarded from the Institute's five schools and 21 academic departments.

Hanna H. Gray, president emeritus of the University of Chicago, will deliver the main Commencement address. President Charles M. Vest will give the charge to the graduates, and MIT Corporation Chairman Paul E. Gray '54 will preside over the ceremonies.

Exercises begin at 9:45 a.m. with the traditional academic procession from 77 Massachusetts Ave. to Killian Court. Students will begin the procession at the Johnson Athletic Center, where they will line up by degree and department. They will be led in the march to Killian by Chief Marshall R. Gary Schweickhardt SM '73, president of the MIT Alumni/ae Association.

Following the invocation by Baptist chaplain Reverend Betsy Draper, Hanna Gray will deliver her address to the graduates.

Afterward, on behalf of the graduate student body, outgoing Graduate Student Council President Roger G. Kermode will deliver a salute to MIT. Class of 1995 President Mehran Islam will then present the senior class gift to President Vest. This year's gift will create an annual scholarship to fund one or two students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

In addition to the exercises at Killian, twenty-two cadets and midshipmen from MIT's Air Force, Army, and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps programs will be commissioned in a ceremony at the site of the frigate USS Constitution at 6 p.m. The ceremony's guest speaker, Admiral J. Paul Reason, is deputy chief of naval operations for plans, policy and operation.

The hooding ceremony for students receiving doctorates was held yesterday evening in Rockwell Cage. The deans of the Schools and departmental representatives presented hoods to 232 doctoral degree recipients.

Gray chosen to speak

From 1964 to 1982, the Commencement address was traditionally given by the President of MIT; guest speakers since 1982 have included Lee Iacocca, William R. Hewlett SM '36, Paul Tsongas, and Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Gray's selection as Commencement speaker was announced about eight weeks ago followingseveral months of deliberation by the Commencement Committee, formed last October.

The committee's goal was to find "someone who will be able to give a good, thought-provoking speech that will play a tremendous role in influencing the emotions of students," said Islam, who was a member of the committee.

Gray served as president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993, and was also acting president of Yale University for a year. She is a distinguished history scholar and has taught at Chicago, Yale, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Gray was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University from 1950 to 1952, and received her PhD in history from Harvard University in 1957. She also holds honorary degrees from several other universities.