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Over 2,000 Degrees to Be Awarded Today President Hockfield and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke to Address Graduates

By Marie Y. Thibault

Over 10,000 guests will look on today as about 2,000 students receive their diplomas in Killian Court. Roughly half of these students (1,025) will be receiving Bachelor of Science degrees, 1,036 will be receiving Masters’ degrees, 9 will earn their Engineers’ degrees, and 270 will receive their doctorates. The total number of people receiving degrees is 2,089.

2,270 students will attend commencement, since some students who received degrees in September or February will walk across the stage today. The number of students who had been on the degree list but are not graduating was not available, according to Registrar Mary Callahan.

Class of 2006 President Kimberley W. Wu ‘06 and Graduate Student Council President Sylvain Bruni G will deliver salutes and President Susan Hockfield will deliver a charge to the graduates. The featured speaker is Ben S. Bernanke PhD ’79, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who assumed the position in February 2006. The level of security during the exercises will be the same as it has been for MIT commencement ceremonies since September 11, 2001.

John B. Nonnamaker, associate director of the careers office, said that he did not know the exact percentage of students continuing on to graduate school or going into employment. However, he said that “anecdotally, we have been hearing from students saying they are getting more offers” from employers. As the economy has improved in recent years, the percentage of students going on to pursue graduate school has decreased, according to data from previous year, Nonnamaker said. Last year 47 percent of students went on to graduate school, 40 percent went to work, and the remaining 13 percent earning a second bachelors degree, taking time off, or traveling. Nonnamaker said that he would predict about 45 percent of students are going on to graduate school, with “the nature of the economy being better than last year.”

Brian D. Myhre ’06 is one student going on to work after graduation. He said that he will be working for the Boston Consulting Group in Dallas, TX because he “felt the consulting environment is more suited to my personality.” Originally from Dumfries, VA, Myhre founded a consulting group with a friend for a few months last summer in Wildwood, NJ, but hopes to gain more experience before again starting his own business.

Emil A. Cuevas ’06, a Course II (Mechanical Engineering) major, has chosen to pursue a graduate degree in architecture. He will enter a sustainable design program at Carnegie Mellon in the fall. Cuevas said he became interested in sustainable design after taking a class on the topic here. Originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Cuevas said that he is happy to be leaving MIT, but is sad to be leaving his friends.

Seniors Give Scholarship

Each year the senior class donates money to a group of each individual’s choice or to a Senior Gift. This year’s senior gift will be a scholarship, to be given to a senior starting next year, who is involved in improving student life.

Over 513 gifts, amounting to $11,720, have been given by members of the class of 2006 so far, said Ryan F. Allard ’06, a member of the senior gift committee. Over 50 percent of the senior class donated, beating 39 percent, the previous record for participation that was set by the Class of 2001.

Concession stands will be set up in Killian Court for the first time, and it is possible that the money from concessions will go toward the Senior Gift, said Associate Director of Enterprise Services John M. McDonald. He said that it is possible that the money from concessions will go toward the Senior Gift.

The commencement exercises will take place as planned in Killian Court, barring weather that could be a threat to safety, according to Gayle M. Gallagher, executive officer for commencement. If there is inclement weather, the graduates will sit in Rockwell Cage to hear the speeches. Guests, including parents, will watch the exercises on closed-circuit televisions around campus. Guests may view the exercises on these televisions, which can be found in certain classrooms and lecture halls, regardless of weather conditions, according to the commencement Web site.

The ceremony can also be viewed online at today and after today.