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Grads to Gather on Killian Court Today

By Krista L. Niece

Today marks the last MIT commencement of the 1900s, as MIT’s 133rd graduating class leaves the Institute.

Although the audience is not expected to be as large as in recent years, more MIT graduates are expected to be present at the ceremony. Approximately 2,400 graduates have indicated they will walk in the ceremony, according to Gayle M. Gallagher, Executive Officer for Commencement. Approximately 8,000 guests are expected, although 9,600 guest tickets have been handed out. A total of 10,000 graduates and guests attended when President Bill Clinton spoke last year.

Formal activities will begin at 9:45am with a procession to Killian Court, led by Chief Marshal, John Morefield, 1998-99 president of the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae. This traditional procession will consist of dignitaries, faculty, and graduates in academic robes.

Class of 1949 Professor of Music Ellen T. Harris will sing the national anthem in honor of the 50th reunion of the class. The Boston Brass Ensemble will also perform, as will the Chorallaries, an MIT a capella singing group. MIT’s Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Joshua M. Plaut, will deliver the invocation;. Chairman of the Corporation Alexander d’Arbeloff ’49 will preside over commencement for the second time.

Although the ceremony has lasted longer in previous years, it is traditionally expected to end at 2:30 p.m.

The commencement ceremony will take place in Killian Court regardless of the weather. If severe weather develops, exercises may conclude after the speeches, and the diplomas will be mailed. Only under extremely inclement conditions will the ceremony be moved to Rockwell Cage.

Click and Clack to Deliver Speech

Thomas L. Magliozzi ’58 and Ray Magliozzi ’72, otherwise known as Click and Clack of the radio show Car Talk, will deliver the commencement address this year.

Tom, the elder of the Cambridge-born brothers, spent six months after graduation in the Army, then did odd jobs until the 1970’s, when Ray returned from a year of volunteer service and a stint as science teacher in Vermont.

The brothers opened the Good News Garage near MIT, which Ray still operates. After an initial appearance on Boston’s WBUR radio station, the brothers eventually achieved their own show. They also have their own flag, emblazoned with the motto Non Impediti Ratione Cogitatonis: “Unencumbered by the thought process.” The question of which Magliozzi is Click and which is Clack remains unresolved.

Car Talk has won the Peabody Award for Excellence and has an estimated audience of more than two million listeners. The brothers also write a biweekly newspaper column “Click and Clack Talk Cars,” which also has a wide readership.

In a spirited turnabout from last year’s security overload, the Magliozzis intend to arrive unaccompanied, in Tom’s 1952 MG TD. They plan to wear full graduate regalia.

Other speakers, past and present

Other speakers at this year’s Commencement will be President Charles M. Vest, who will deliver the charge, Graduate Student Council President Brian J. Schneider G, and Class of 1999 president Pooja Shukla.

Commencement speakers of the recent past include aids researcher Dr. David D. Ho and President William J. Clinton (1998), U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan SM ’72 (1997), Vice President Al Gore(1996), President Emeritus of the University of Chicago Hanna H. Gray (1995), Colombian President Virgilio Barco ’43 (1990), and Chrysler CEO Lee Ioccoca (1985). Between 1965 and 1982, it was traditional for MIT’s president to give the commencement address.

MIT’s first president, William Barton Rogers, died during his 1882 commencement speech.