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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 21, 2009
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RIT celebrates Class of 2009 (May 22-23)

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RIT will confer degrees on more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students during this year's commencement activities. RIT alumni now total 106,000 worldwide.

A. Sue Weisler

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Ursula Burns

The cycle of higher learning is racing toward another climax as RIT prepares to celebrate its 124th annual commencement. Graduating students, their family and friends, and the entire campus community converge for a weekend of pomp and circumstance May 22-23.

Ursula Burns, president of Xerox Corp., delivers the keynote address during Academic Convocation, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, May 22, in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. She will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the ceremony.

Burns, who is also a member of the Xerox Board of Directors, is responsible for the company’s global research, development, engineering, marketing and manufacturing of Xerox technology, supplies and related services. She also oversees global accounts, information management, corporate strategy, human resources and ethics, and marketing operations.

“RIT is extremely pleased to have Ursula Burns as our 2009 Commencement speaker,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “She is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the global business world. She is the perfect role model for our students. They will learn that with hard work and perseverance, you can start out as a summer intern and ascend to be a corporate president.”

During Academic Convocation, President Destler will confer degrees on more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Other highlights include recognition of students graduating with honors and faculty members who won this year’s outstanding teaching awards.

In addition, each college, including the American College of Management and Technology in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and the American University in Kosovo, has chosen an undergraduate student to serve as college delegate. Delegates are invited to represent their colleges on stage during the official conferral of degrees by President Destler.

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.

“Graduation is the highlight event of the university community,” explains Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “It is a time for the faculty and staff to take pride in our students’ accomplishments and congratulate them on jobs well done. Celebrating our graduates also provides us with opportunities to greet their proud families and friends.”

Adds Destler, “Our celebration is a culminating experience for graduates, their families and friends, a capstone of their time at RIT and a fitting finale to years of hard work and sacrifice.”

Ceremonies will be sign-language interpreted and real-time captioned. Tickets are not necessary, and ample seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Information booths will be located around campus and ushers will be present at each ceremony.

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Paul Stella

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