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FAU Celebrates Fall 2011 Commencement

BOCA RATON, FL (December 8, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 2,300 degrees Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9 during five commencement ceremonies held in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium on the Boca Raton campus.  The new graduates join more than 123,000 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the university opened its doors in 1964. This year’s commencement marks the 102nd ceremony for the University, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
            “I am incredibly proud of FAU’s graduates and their achievements,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders.  “Commencement is always a testament to the quality of the University’s faculty, and the talent and determination of its students.  I look forward to celebrating this day with FAU’s students, their parents, as well as other members of the extended FAU community.”

The ceremony being held on December 8, at 9 a.m. will honor Nancy Blosser, former chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees, and Shawn Friedkin, founder of Stand Among Friends (SAF), with the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion.

Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets and FAU alumnus, will be awarded with an honorary doctorate from the College of Engineering and Computer Science in the Thursday ceremony at 1 p.m.  Dr. Michael Posner, professor emeritus at the University of Oregon and adjunct professor of psychology in psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, also will be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine on December 9, at 1 p.m.

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

  • Andreas Kyriacou is the first FAU student to receive a Professional Master of Science degree in medical physics, the only program in medical physics in the state of Florida that is nationally recognized as a Professional Science Masters (PSM) by the Council of Graduate Schools.  Kyriacou recently passed the first board examination in medical physics of the American Board of Radiology.  After he graduates with his Ph.D. in physics from FAU, Kyriacou plans to pursue a career as a medical physicist within a radiation oncology organization.
  • Tricia Meredithwill receive her Ph.D. in integrative biology from FAU.  Through her doctoral dissertation research on the sense of smell in sharks, rays and skates, Meredith hopes to clarify misconceptions and fears about sharks specifically, and has found that sharks may not be as sensitive to odors as previously thought.
  • Dean Peterson has already built a stellar, international career as an opera singer and says he was put on that path by FAU faculty during his studies.  Peterson has spent 14 years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and is coming up on his 15th production at La Scala opera house in Italy.  Peterson will sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at his own commencement ceremony where he will receive a Master of Arts in music from FAU. 

 Some interesting statistics regarding the fall graduating class include the fact that 91 of the degree recipients were over the age of 50.  The oldest graduate was 82, and the youngest was 19.  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. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. 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. For more information, visit

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