More than 1,800 of nearly 2,200 eligible students are expected to participate in the fall 2006 commencement ceremonies Friday, Dec. 8, in the FAU Arena. It is the largest fall class in FAU’s 42-year history. To accommodate the record number of graduates, their families and friends, three separate ceremonies will be held. Admission is by ticket only. For those who cannot attend in person, the ceremonies can be viewed at www.fau.edu/webcast.
The morning ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m., will include the College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. An honorary doctoral degree will be conferred upon Mirta Ojito, an award-winning journalist and author who began her career in South Florida at The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald after earning a bachelor’s degree in communication from FAU in 1986. Ms. Ojito joined the staff of The New York Times in 1996, and in 2001 she was a member of the Times’ reporting team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting with a series titled “How Race is Lived in America.” The President’s Distinguished Service Medallion will be awarded to May and Bernard Smith for their ongoing support of the University, including endowment of a lecture series that annually brings outstanding scholars in the fields of religion and philosophy to FAU. The May Smith Lecture Series in Post-Holocaust Christian-Jewish Dialogue was initiated several years ago with Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel as the first featured speaker.
The afternoon ceremony, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will include graduates of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Education, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. The 12 students marching under the banner of the College of Biomedical Science are that college’s first graduates, all receiving master of science degrees. The Honorable Mel Martinez, U.S. Senator, will be the distinguished speaker at the ceremony. Senator Martinez was sworn in as Florida’s 33rd United States Senator on Jan. 4, 2005, taking his place in the history books as the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Prior to serving in the Senate, Senator Martinez was U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. He helped further the goals of an “ownership society” by promoting home ownership for America’s low-income workers.
The evening ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m., will consist exclusively of graduates of the College of Business. Manuel D. Medina, founder, chairman and CEO of Terremark Worldwide Inc., will receive the FAU National Alumni Association Hall of Fame Award. Terremark is a leading operator of integrated Internet exchanges and a global provider of managed IT infrastructure solutions for the government and private sectors. Mr. Medina graduated from FAU in 1974 with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. He founded Terremark in 1980. Headquartered in Miami, the international corporation delivers its portfolio of services from 11 locations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia.
The 2,185-member graduating class reflects the wide range of students who pursue degrees at FAU. The oldest graduate is 76 years old; the youngest 19. Six are over 60 years of age; and 78 are between 50 and 60. Seventy-one countries will be represented at the ceremonies, and 103 students will graduate with 4.0 GPAs in all work undertaken at FAU. Thirteen graduates will have double reason to celebrate the day, as they will graduate on their birthdays.