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Nitish Nair G, PhD candidate for the Department of Chemical Engineering, receives his doctoral hood from department head Klavs F. Jensen at the Johnson Athletic Center midday Thursday.
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MIT’s 143rd Commencement exercises will take place this morning on Killian Court where more than 2,200 graduating students will receive about 2,600 degrees.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will deliver the Commencement address. Patrick was chosen to be this year’s speaker because of his leadership in clean energy policy. As governor, he is also an ex-officio member of the MIT Corporation.

In addition to Patrick, MIT Corporation Chairman Dana Mead will open the ceremonies, Institute Chaplain Robert M. Randolph will deliver the Invocation, and President Susan J. Hockfield will address the graduates. Outgoing Graduate Student Coucil President Oaz Nir and 2009 Senior Class President Vivian Tang will also speak.

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for guests and family members. Following the ceremony, a reception will be held on Kresge Oval. The ceremony can also be viewed online at http://web.mit.edu/commencement/2009/webcast.html.

As of yesterday, 921 undergraduate students and 1,337 graduate students were scheduled to attend the ceremony, according to Assistant Registrar Daniel T. Engelhardt. A total of 1,065 undergraduate degrees and 1,435 graduate degrees will be given out.

Ammar T. Ammar ’09 and Andre Y. Wibisono ’09 are two graduating seniors who are continuing in Masters of Engineering programs at MIT.

Wibisono, who will receive a double degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and Engineering, said that he feels he is “not yet finished” and adds that the MEng program is great for “students who love MIT too much and do not want to leave.” He adds that an MEng provides a taste of graduate education without the long commitment of a PhD program.

Ammar, graduating with a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, recalls his experiences at MIT. “I am glad that I didn’t get fried by EMF radiations after spending all this time in front a computer screen,” he adds laughingly.

Yesterday, doctoral candidates gathered at Rockwell Cage for their hooding ceremony. President Hockfield told the gathered students that out of half a million students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees, only 35,000 continue on to earn a PhD, emphasizing the importance and stalwart nature of the graduate students.

Seniors donate to OpenCourseWare

MIT encourages graduating seniors to donate money, in what the Institute calls a Senior Gift campaign. Last year, 64.4 percent of the Class of 2008 donated to the Senior Gift campaign, a record-high.

As of yesterday afternoon, 64.1 percent of graduating seniors (636 individuals) had donated $11,677, according to Senior Gift Adviser Rosheen B. Kavanagh of the MIT Alumni Association. Organizers are targeting a goal of 65 percent, half a percentage point higher than last year’s record. The campaign continued to count donations made yesterday evening.

All MIT donors can specify a particular group or fund to receive their gift, including student groups or the general scholarship fund. They could also support this year’s chosen Senior Gift, an MIT OpenCourseWare Fund focusing on providing video content and course materials for MIT Class 5.111 (Principles of Chemical Science). 5.111 is one of the most popular courses on OCW, and new material is scheduled to be online this month.

As of yesterday afternoon, 242 students had donated approximately $4,000 to the OCW fund.

Following tradition, MIT alumus Martin Tang SM ’72 has sponsored a challenge for the Senior Gift. Tang will give $20,000 at the current level of participation, but will raise his contribution to $25,000 if the 65 percent goal is met.

Class President Vivian Tang will present the campaign total to Hockfield at Commencement.

Angeline Wang contributed to the reporting for this story.