RIT celebrates Class of 2007

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A. Sue Weisler

These graduates, from RIT’s Class of 2006, join an alumni population that, this year, grows to more than 100,000.

RIT is ready for a memorable conclusion to the academic year with its celebration of the 122nd annual Commencement. Graduating students, their family and friends, and the entire campus community will converge for a weekend of pride and excitement May 25-26.

Activities kick off with Academic Convocation, 10 a.m. Friday, May 25, in U Lot. Tickets are required for admission to this ceremony.

During Academic Convocation, RIT President Albert Simone confers degrees on more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, the university welcomes President Bill Clinton as the event’s keynote speaker (see related story).

“President Clinton’s lifelong commitment to public service, including his tireless dedication to humanitarian and philanthropic activities since leaving the White House, offers inspiration to a new generation preparing to make its mark on a global society,” states Simone. “We’re very honored to welcome the former president back to RIT, and we look forward to hearing his insights for our 2007 graduates.”

Clinton and Yohei Sasakawa, chair of The Nippon Foundation of Japan, will each receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters during the ceremony. Sasakawa is acknowledged as the primary advocate for the foundation’s funding of the Postsecondary Education Network International, commonly called PEN-International, at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Other highlights of Academic Convocation include recognition for graduating honors students, as well as faculty members who won outstanding teaching awards. Each RIT college, including the American College of Management and Technology in Croatia and the American University in Kosovo, has chosen an undergraduate student to serve as college delegate. These delegates represent their colleges on stage during the official conferral of degrees by President Simone.

“By recognizing the excellence of our faculty and students, we spotlight RIT tradition, university pride and community spirit,” says Simone.

Following Academic Convocation, each RIT college celebrates commencement with individual ceremonies and receptions (see accompanying schedule). During these ceremonies, graduating students are recognized individually and respective delegates address those in attendance. Tickets are not necessary, and ample seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It is time for the faculty and staff to take pride in our students’ accomplishment and congratulate them on a job well done,” remarks Stanley McKenzie, RIT provost. “Celebrating our graduates also provides us with opportunities to greet their proud families and friends.”

Kit Mayberry, vice president for academic affairs, adds, “Each graduate is a living embodiment of a successful academic career, possessing the knowledge and skills to begin the next phase of his or her career.”

All ceremonies during Commencement weekend are sign-language interpreted and real-time captioned. To help visitors with questions, information booths are being located around campus and volunteer ushers are present at the convocation and each college ceremony.