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Over 2,000 To Graduate Today

HP CEO Fiorina To Deliver Address

By Anna K. Benefiel


The day is here.

At today’s 134th MIT Commencement exercises 2,117 undergraduate and graduate students will receive 2,413 degrees.

Hewlett-Packard President and Chief Executive Officer Carly S. Fiorina will deliver the commencement address at the exercises. Fiorina received a Masters of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management in 1989. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in medieval history and philosophy at Stanford University in 1976 and an MBA from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1980.

The School of Architecture and Planning will be the first school to award degrees today, with other schools following in alphabetical order. The last few degree recipients will likely be undergraduate mathematics majors, Sloan School Doctoral degree recipients, and students completing their course of study in the Health Sciences and Technology M.D./Ph.D program.

Janet L. Slifka Ph.D. ’00, an HST student for the past six years, was thrilled to learn that she would likely be one of the last degree recipients in Killian Court today. Welcoming the opportunity to be “outside for a long time, since I’ve spent too much time inside over the past six years,” Slifka was not worried that her mother would fall asleep waiting until the end of today’s ceremonies. “She shouldn’t have any trouble staying awake because she’s pretty excited” about the completion of the degree, Slifka said.

Mathematics major Ian M. Ross ’00, upon learning he was likely the last undergraduate to receive a degree in the graduation exercises today, asked if he would be allowed to “sleep in rather than lining up” for the procession early this morning. Ross describes his end-of-line position as a logical progression, as he was the first born in his family and one of the middle members of his pledge class at Pi Lambda Phi. Ross will be studying computational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

The School of Engineering will distribute the most degrees today: 52 percent of the total number. The Sloan School of Management is second with twenty-two percent, followed by the School of Science which will distribute fifteen percent. The School of Humanities and Social sciences will grant 115 degrees. Lastly, the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology will award nine degrees.

Backup plans ready if rain strikes

According to the Information Office and the Commencement webpage, the Commencement Exercises will be held in Killian Court regardless of weather conditions. In the case of extreme weather conditions, speeches may be held in the Johnson Athletic Center first floor for the degree recipients only. Guests would then view the speeches over closed-circuit television in rooms across campus as described in the Commencement program. Tickets would not be required for admission to these locations.

Responding to questions about forecasted weather problems for today, President Charles M. Vest said earlier in the week, “There are no dire predictions of rain. It’s going to be a beautiful sunny day in Killian Court. Any scattered thunderstorms are going to scatter far away from here.” When asked if tenureships in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences would be put on the line over the accuracy of rain forecasting for Friday, Vest responded, “Absolutely.” EAPS department representatives could not be reached for comment.

The Commencement Committee traditionally relies upon a special EAPS liaison to handle up-to-the-minute weather updates beginning early in the evening on the Thursday before Commencement each year. In past ceremonies, rain has missed Killian Court by a matter of blocks.

Traditionally held in the open air of Killian Court, Commencement has only been moved indoors once in the past twenty years, when persistent heavy rains in 1992 moved speeches to Rockwell Cage.