WEB UPDATE: University names three additional Commencement speakers

Posted Thursday, April 21, 5:10 p.m. The University announced Thursday that Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Mildred Dresselhaus, Miami Herald publisher Alberto Ibarguen and former Army doctor Philip Russel will join CBS correspondent Andy Rooney in speaking at Commencement.

Media relations director Tracy Schario said the process of selecting the full Commencement lineup to address graduates on the Ellipse on May 22 ended about two weeks ago. The Hatchet learned in January that Rooney would be featured at graduation; two weeks ago, University officials confirmed that more speakers would be named.

The three speakers, who are also receiving honorary degrees, will have less time to speak than Rooney.

“(Rooney) will have, as the featured speaker, 10 or 15 minutes to talk, and the other ones, as they receive their honorary degrees, will have less time – probably about five minutes,” Schario said.

In a shift from the selections of previous years, none of the four individuals chosen to talk to graduates have attended GW. Last year, oncologist Luther Brady and former Gen. John Shalikashvili, both GW graduates, and former professor Gail Kern Paster, spoke to graduates.

“Mildred Dresselhaus, Alberto Ibarguen and Dr. Philip Russell each have different but equally meaningful professional talents,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in a news release. “In their own way, they have pushed beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary – and that makes them excellent role models for our graduates.”

Dresselhaus teaches physics and electrical engineering at MIT and holds membership in a number of professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences. He has served as president of the American Physical Society, treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The recipient of a law degree and a newspaper executive since 1984, Ibarguen is the publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, both Knight Ridder newspapers. In September, he will become president of the John S. and James L. Knight foundation, which supports journalism programs and civic activities.

Russell, who served in the Army Medical Corps from 1959 to 1990, is the former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. He has studied infectious diseases and tropical medicine, and led a major effort to increase protection efforts against biological agents.

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