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Graduates Receive Degrees, Zerhouni Speaks in Killian

By Kathy Lin and Tongyan Lin


Approximately 2,205 MIT students will receive their degrees today, at MIT’s 138th commencement ceremony. The keynote speaker will be Elias A. Zerhouni, the director of the National Institute of Health.

Administrators will distribute 1,114 bachelor’s degrees, 1,161 master’s degrees, 211 doctorate degrees, and 10 Engineer degrees, according to an MIT press release.

“It’s so anticlimatic,” said Ryan L. Pettit G, who will receive an SM today. “I’m taking this summer off to relax” and “try to forget everything I learned.”

“I don’t think it’s really hit me,” said Michael Ho ’04.

Grads off to grad school, careers

Based on preliminary results from the graduating student survey, the “rough data is that about 63 percent of graduating students are saying that they’ll be working, and 31 percent are saying that they’ll be going to graduate school,” said John Nonnamaker of the MIT Careers office, who is in charge of the survey. The remaining students chose “other,” he said.

This data, which is based on the responses of the approximately 1,200 graduates who have filled out the survey so far, is just “tentative,” Nonnamaker said. He will “continue to reach out to graduates throughout the summer” to get “as accurate and complete of a picture as possible,” he said.

“I’m sticking around for grad school,” said Courtney A. Browne ’04. “I’m excited,” she said, because “I like MIT.”

Chloe J. Tergiman ’04 will begin a PhD program in economics at New York University in the fall. “I’m pretty happy about leaving,” she said. “I don’t think I could have stayed another year ... it’s time to meet new people and try different things.”

“I’m going to be working in New York,” Ho said. It will be a “lot of fun” and at a “very different pace,” he said.

“I am going to be an analyst at a consulting firm in Cambridge,” said Jeanette C. Fershtman ’04.

Zerhouni to give keynote address

Zerhouni, the 15th director of NIH, was chosen by MIT President Charles M. Vest from a list of candidates compiled by members of the Class of 2004, The Tech reported in March.

“Arriving on these shores as a young student and now a distinguished scientist leading our largest research establishment, he exemplifies the benefits of an open and accessible research community,” Vest said in March.

Before becoming the director of NIH, Zerhouni was a professor of biomedical engineering and the executive vice dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Zerhouni is also a member of the Institute of Medicine and served on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors from 1998-2002.

Graduates reflect

“Looking back, it was definitely worth all the pain and anguish” and “all the hard work,” Ho said. Graduating is “very rewarding,” he said. “Even if you are in the middle tier here ... you’re in the top” elsewhere.

“I’m continuing on for a PhD here” so “graduation is kind of meaningless,” but “my wife wanted me to walk” because “there was so much pain involved in getting my degree,” said Steven K. Charles G.

Graduation is a “mixed bag,” said Nirupama S. Rao ’04. She is “really happy to get out of here,” but “you have to face reality” after you leave, she said. “MIT has developed the way I think about things.”

“I’m sad to leave the Institute, but I’m not really leaving campus” because “I’m going to be living on campus with my fiance,” Fershtman said.

Commencement in Killian

Commencement exercises will begin at 10 a.m. in Killian Court, and ticketed guests can enter beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The commencement ceremonies can also be viewed via closed-circuit television viewing on campus or live Web cast. More information about commencement can be found at the commencement Web site: