First lady to receive honorary degree

Correction appended

A business executive for one of the United States’ largest construction companies and an award-winning pianist will join first lady Michelle Obama in receiving honorary degrees this spring during Commencement Weekend, a University spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A. James Clark, an entrepreneur and trustee emeritus, will receive a Doctor of Engineering at the University Commencement Ceremony on the National Mall May 16. Clark serves as chairman of the board and CEO of Clark Enterprises, Inc. The company owns Clark Construction Group, which has constructed several buildings on campus, including South Hall, Ivory Tower and 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., among others. The company is currently working on Square 54 and office space projects at GW.

Renowned pianist and composer Dave Brubeck will be presented with a Doctor of Music. This will not be Brubeck’s first time at GW, as in 2001 he was awarded the GW President’s Medal – the University’s highest honor – and GW hosted the Brubeck Jazz Festival in April 2008.

Obama will be the keynote speaker at Commencement, after the University community matched her 100,000 service hour challenge set forth at the beginning of this year.

University President Steven Knapp said he believes each of the recipients will inspire graduates.

“All three of these distinguished individuals exemplify the University’s ideals of achievement, leadership and service,” Knapp said in a news release.

The University also announced that Lisa St. Clair Harvey, associate professor of media and public affairs, is scheduled to speak during one of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences celebrations at the Smith Center May 15. Stephen Lubkemann, associate professor of anthropology and international affairs, will speak at the second CCAS graduation ceremony later that afternoon.

Anoma Sugandhie Hapangama, a graduating student from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, will speak to fellow students at the Smith Center May 15. Seniors Kate Mirzozoda and Jacey Bennis will address fellow graduates from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, will speak to graduates of the School of Public Health and Health Services, and Dr. Peter Hotez, chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at GW and distinguished research professor, will speak to graduates of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Michelle Moore, a federal environmental executive, will speak to graduates of the College of Professional Studies, and Mary Schapiro, chairperson of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, will speak to graduates of the law school.

Graduates in the Elliott School of International Affairs graduate and undergraduate programs will hear Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for the Office of Verification, Compliance and Implementation.

Marcia Bullard, retiring president and chief executive of USA Weekend magazine, will speak to graduate students in the School of Business. Ric Duques, alumnus, former chairman of First Data Corporation and benefactor of Ric and Dawn Duques Hall, will speak to undergraduates in GW School of Business.

Graduates in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will hear Dr. H. Vincent Poor, Welling professor at GW, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University.

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (April 22, 2010)

The article originally stated that Clark and Brubeck would speak at Commencement. They will not.

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