student life

IU selects December commencement speaker



This year’s winter commencement will take place Dec. 21, and Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, has been selected to address students.

About 1,188 IU-Bloomington students, ages 18 to 64, will graduate, attaining a total of 1,945 degrees.

Coleman was chosen due to her wealth of experience in higher education, said Mark Land, associate vice president of University communications.

“We’re always looking to bring people that are at the top of their field to inspire graduates, and Coleman has had an outstanding career in higher education,” Land said. “It’s a nice way to recognize her as a leader in higher education.”

Coleman will retire in July 2014 after serving the University of Michigan as president for 12 years. Coleman was named one of the top 10 “best college presidents” by Time Magazine in 2009, and President Barack Obama selected her to be a part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort to secure United States leadership in technology.

Coleman received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina. She then worked as a medical researcher studying the immune system and malignacies at the University of Kentucky for 19 years and later became president of Iowa from 1995-2002, according to an IU press release.

At IU’s winter commencement, Coleman will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters, according to the press release. The degree is meant to recognize and show gratitude for Coleman’s successful career in higher education, Land said.

Commencement will take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 21 in Assembly Hall. Graduates must report to Gladstein Fieldhouse at 8 a.m.

Graduates must pick up their graduate apparel Dec. 16-20 at the IU Bookstore in the Indiana Memorial Union and show a picture ID.

Many schools, including the schools of Education, Journalism, Public and Environmental Affairs, Public Health and the Kelly School of Business organize special events for their graduates before or after the ceremony.

Many students chose to graduate early for financial reasons, while other students graduate in December because they needed an extra semester to get necessary credits.

Fifth-year student Alexander Shaffer is graduating in December with a degree in East Asian Language and Culture.

“I’m graduating in December because I studied abroad in Japan and Brazil last year and unfortunately, the credits from Brazil did not all transfer,” Shaffer said. “I had to make up the lost time with another semester.”

Graduating senior Aaron Olson will represent the class during the ceremony, Patrick O’Connor will represent the IU Alumni Association as its national chairman and the Rev. Linda C. Johnson of the IU Campus Religious Leaders Association will offer the invocation.

Degree candidates will be announced by school, not individually, and the ceremony will last about 90 minutes. No tickets are required, and graduates may invite as many guests as they want. Rented apparel must be returned by 1 p.m. Dec. 21 at Gladstein Fieldhouse.

Former winter commencement speakers have included Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Randall T. Shepard and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

Coleman is regarded as a national leader on the value of diversity in learning environments, according to the press release.

“I am deeply honored to have been asked to address the graduates of Indiana University and look forward to celebrating a glorious day with students, their families and friends,” Coleman said in the press release.

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