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The George Washington University’s Commencement Line-Up Finalized

A. James Clark and Legendary Pianist and Composer Dave Brubeck to Receive Honorary Degrees; First Lady Michelle Obama to Headline Weekend Celebration

April 21, 2010

WASHINGTON – A. James Clark will join First Lady Michelle Obama and legendary pianist and composer Dave Brubeck in receiving an honorary degree from The George Washington University at its May 16, 2010, Commencement ceremony on the National Mall. Mrs. Obama will receive a Doctor of Public Service degree, Mr. Brubeck will receive a Doctor of Music, honoris causa and Mr. Clark will receive a Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa. Mrs. Obama, who had earlier challenged the George Washington community to perform 100,000 hours of service this academic year, will give the Commencement Address.

“All three of these distinguished individuals exemplify the University’s ideals of achievement, leadership and service,” said GW President Steven Knapp. "Each will be an inspiration to our 2010 graduates.”

At the Commencement ceremony, the Class of 2010 will be represented by Zoe Petkanas. Ms. Petkanas was chosen to deliver a short speech during the ceremony by a panel of judges at the student speaker competition held Friday, April 16. She competed against seven other students for the honor of addressing her fellow graduates. Ms. Petkanas is expected to graduate from The Elliott School of International Affairs with a B.A. in International Affairs.

The career of A. James Clark is a true American success story. As a young man, and recent graduate of the University of Maryland, Mr. Clark joined a small local general contracting company that he would eventually own. Over the course of the next 60 years, his leadership and vision transformed it into one of the largest privately held companies in the nation. As an engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, he has been the recipient of many academic, professional and civic honors. He also is a Trustee Emeritus of The George Washington University. Today, Mr. Clark is chairman of the board and CEO of Clark Enterprises, Inc., the parent holding company of Clark Construction Group, LLC, one of the largest privately-held general contractors in the U.S. Clark Construction has played a pivotal role in the building or renovating of several facilities at George Washington and also is currently involved in the Square 54 garage and office building project on campus.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive an honorary degree from The George Washington University – a first-class University that has contributed so much to our shared community of Washington, D.C.,” said Mr. Clark. “I know I will be sharing the day with a graduating class prepared to become leaders in whatever fields they choose.”

The George Washington University Commencement Weekend will take place Wednesday, May 12 - Sunday, May 16. The University-wide Commencement will be held the morning of Sunday, May 16, on the National Mall. A schedule of school and college celebrations, including keynote speakers, is below.

Friday, May 14

  • Rose Gottemoeller, M.A. ’81, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation, will speak to undergraduate and graduate students at the Elliott School of International Affairs' celebration at 11 a.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Ric Duques, B.B.A. ’65, M.B.A. ’69, will speak to undergraduate students at the School of Business celebration at 4 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Marcia Bullard, M.B.A ‘01, former president and chief executive of USA Weekend magazine, will speak to the graduate students at the School of Business celebration at 7:30 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.

Saturday, May 15

  • Anoma Sugandhie Hapangama, M.Ed. ’10, will address her fellow graduates at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development celebration at 8 a.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Lisa St. Clair (Kerric) Harvey, associate professor of media and public affairs, will address graduates at the noon Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Celebration at the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary of Labor of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, will speak to graduates of the School of Public Health and Health Services at noon in Lisner Auditorium.
  • Stephen C. Lubkemann, associate professor of anthropology and international affairs, will address the 3:30 p.m. Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Celebration at the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Vincent Poor, dean of engineering at Princeton and former Welling Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), will speak at the school’s celebration at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center.
  • Kate Mirzozoda, B.S.H.S. ’10, and Jacey Bennis, M.S.H.S. ’10, will address the graduates of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
  • Michelle Moore, federal environmental executive in the Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President, will address graduates of the College of Professional Studies at 7:30 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.

Sunday, May 16

  • Zoe Petkanas will address her fellow graduates at the 2010 Commencement of The George Washington University at 9:30 a.m. on The National Mall.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama also will deliver remarks during the Commencement ceremony.
  • Peter Hotez, Distinguished Research Professor, the Walter G. Ross Professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at GW, will speak to graduates of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences-M.D. Celebration at 2:30 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.
  • Mary L. Schapiro, J.D. ’80, the 29th chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will speak at the Law School Celebration at 2:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center.

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.



Emily Cain - 202-994-3087 - [email protected]



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