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Final George Washington University 2012 Commencement Line-Up Announced
“NBC Nightly News” Anchor Brian Williams to Headline Weekend Celebration
April 27, 2012
WASHINGTON—“NBC Nightly News” anchor, members of Congress and the District’s deputy mayor of education will be among the speakers addressing graduates at George Washington University Commencement ceremonies May 18-20.
Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" and host of "Rock Center," will deliver the keynote address to nearly 25,000 George Washington University graduates and guests and will receive an honorary doctorate degree, Sunday, May 20, on the National Mall. International businessman and philanthropic leader Carlos Slim, and internationally renowned artist Clarice Smith also will receive honorary degrees from the university.
At the Commencement ceremony, the Class of 2012 will be represented by graduating senior Noreen Kassam. Ms. Kassam was chosen to deliver a short speech during the ceremony by a panel of judges at the student speaker competition held Friday, April 18. She competed against 11 other students for the honor of addressing her fellow graduates. Ms. Kassam is expected to graduate from the Elliott School of International Affairs with a major in international affairs and political science.
Mr. Williams, one of the nation’s foremost television journalists, began his broadcasting career in 1981 at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kan. He worked at several local stations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City before joining NBC News in 1993. Mr. Williams served as NBC’s chief White House correspondent and later assumed the role of anchor and managing editor of "The News With Brian Williams" on MSNBC and CNBC. Since taking over as anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" in 2004, he has strengthened the broadcast's position as the most-watched television newscast and has become the most highly decorated evening news anchor of the modern era. In 2007, "TIME" named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2011, NBC News launched "Rock Center with Brian Williams," the network’s first new primetime newsmagazine in nearly two decades.
Mr. Williams attended GW for the fall semester of 1980.
Business leader and humanitarian Carlos Slim has made significant contributions to business and community development in Mexico and Latin America, and his extensive philanthropic work through his foundations has led to improvements and investments in education, health and the fine arts. Mr. Slim also was awarded the George Washington University President’s Medal in 2009.
Clarice Smith is a native of Washington, D.C., and a two-time George Washington alumna. Ms. Smith was also a member of GW’s art department faculty from 1980-1987. She has been painting professionally for 35 years and has had numerous solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad. Ms. Smith presently serves on the Board of Commissioners at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
George Washington University’s Commencement activities will take place Sunday, May 8 - Sunday, May 15. The university-wide Commencement will be held the morning of Sunday, May 15, on the National Mall. A schedule of school and college celebrations, including keynote speakers, is below.
Friday, May 18
- Edward “Skip” Gnehm, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Jordan and GW alumnus, will speak to graduates at the Elliott School of International Affairs' celebration at 11:30 a.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.
- Linda Rabbitt, founder, CEO and chairman of Rand Construction, and GW Board of Trustees member, will address graduates at the School of Business celebration at 3:30 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.
- Ron Ross, a fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will address graduates at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at 7:30 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.
Saturday, May 19
- De’Shawn Wright, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Education, will address graduates at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development celebration at 8 a.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center.
- Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will address graduates at the university’s Interfaith Baccalaureate service at 9:30 a.m. at Western Presbyterian Church.
- David Rain, GW professor of geography, will address graduates at the noon Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Celebration at the Charles E. Smith Center
- Diane Rehm, host of National Public Radio’s “The Diane Rehm Show,” will speak to graduates of the School of Public Health and Health Services at noon in Lisner Auditorium.
- Heidi Bardot, GW professor of art therapy, will address graduates at the 3:30 p.m. Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Celebration at the Charles E. Smith Center.
- GW students Maggie Richards and Mong Tuyen Tran will address health sciences graduates of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at 4 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.
- Congressman Rush Holt (D-N.J.) will address graduates of the College of Professional Studies at 7:30 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.
Sunday, May 20
- “NBC Nightly News” Anchor Brian Williams and GW student Noreen Kassam will deliver remarks during the university-wide Commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on the National Mall.
- Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, J.D. ’81, will speak at the Law School Celebration at 2:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center.
- Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, M.D. ’70, will address M.D. graduates of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at 2:30 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.
In the heart of the nation's capital with additional programs in Virginia, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.
For additional information about GW’s Commencement Weekend 2011, visit: http://commencement.gwu.edu.
MEDIA CONTACTS:Michelle Sherrard - 202-994-1423 -