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FAU Celebrates Spring 2013 Commencement

BOCA RATON, Fla. (May 2, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 3,100 degrees on Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3 during six commencement ceremonies held in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, on the Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 130,800 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the university opened its doors in 1964.

“During our spring commencement ceremonies, we will celebrate the graduation of the largest class in the history of Florida Atlantic University,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “More than 2,800 of our 3,148 graduating students plan on attending the ceremonies in person. We join their family members and friends in congratulating them on reaching this major landmark in their lives.”

Honorary doctorates will be awarded to bestselling author James Patterson and inventor/entrepreneur Michael R. Levine.

Patterson will receive his honorary doctorate from the College of Education during the ceremony on Friday at 9 a.m. He holds the Guinness Book record for the most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers of any author, and is expected to reach 10 million eBook sales in 2013. An innovative advocate of reading education whose websites include, Patterson has established the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship Fund in FAU’s College of Education. The fund awards scholarships to College of Education students who are pursuing careers in teaching with special emphasis on reading education. 

Levine will receive his honorary doctorate from the College of Engineering and Computer Science during the ceremony on Friday at 1 p.m. A generous supporter of the College, he holds more than 60 U.S. patents and actively mentors students at FAU.  Levine has established FAU’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Laboratory, and also has funded research in areas that include mobile systems, healthcare technologies and campus applications.

Dr. Michael T. B. Dennis, M.D. will receive the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion, an award presented to those who have rendered service of great value to the university and the greater community also during the ceremony on Friday at 1 p.m. A retired plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dennis is the founding chair of the advisory board of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and has played a key role in the College’s rapid development. Now in its second year of operation, the college recently received provisional accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting authority for medical education programs in the U.S. and Canada.

Gene G. Kinney, Ph.D., will be inducted into the FAU National Alumni Association Hall of Fame during the Thursday ceremony at 5 p.m. A recognized leader in the field of neuroscience drug discovery and Alzheimer’s disease research and therapeutics, Kinney is chief scientific officer and head of research and development at Prothena Biosciences in San Francisco, Calif. He is a double alumnus of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, having received a master’s degree in psychology in 1992 and a doctorate in psychology in 1994.

“Each and every year at Commencement, I’m reminded of the impact FAU has, and will continue to have, on its students, faculty, staff, and the six-county region it serves,” said Anthony Barbar, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees. “Speaking for the Trustees, I commend the Class of 2013. As an FAU alumnus myself, I’m moved and impressed by the accomplishments of this year’s graduates”

Spring commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:

  • Greg Gantt, 21, is FAU’s leading basketball scorer of all time, and one of the top men’s collegiate basketball scorers in the United States. Gantt plans to use his passion for basketball to help others after he receives his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters on Thursday, May 2 at 9 a.m.
  • Ashley Love, 20, is on her way to becoming one of Florida’s youngest CPAs. Love began taking college-level courses in ninth grade while attending FAU High School, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting at FAU’s with Magna Cum Laude honors as the youngest graduate in her class, and will receive a master’s degree in accounting from the College of Business on Friday, May 3 at 1 p.m.
  • Josh Mavica, 31, is a true American hero and veteran, having served three tours in Iraq as a combat Marine. He has a passion for serving his country, and other veterans by linking them to counseling, financial assistance, healthcare, employment support, and other necessary resources as they return to the civilian population after years at war. Mavica will receive a master’s degree in social work from the College of Design and Social Inquiry on Thursday, May 2 at 1 p.m.
  • Amjad Munim, M.D., 62, is a pulmonologist who treats patients with chronic and severe asthma, and chose FAU to conduct research in a landmark study on the impact of vitamin D patients to asthmatic patients. He will receive a doctorate in integrative biology from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science on Thursday, May 2 at 5 p.m.
  • Christina Zarrilli, 21, has been described as a visionary, humanist, and leader by FAU faculty and fellow students. She began taking college-level classes in the ninth grade while attending FAU High School, and was active as a college student in and out of the classroom, reviving the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, and founding the engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering on Friday, May 3 at 1 p.m.

Some interesting statistics regarding the spring graduating class include the fact that 142 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50. The oldest graduate is 64, and the youngest is 17. The graduates represent 57 countries.

For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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