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Week of April 18, 2011

Campuses, units celebrate Spring Commencement 2011

This year's U-M Spring Commencement will feature the commissioning of ROTC cadets and pre-ceremony student entertainment — both introduced at last year’s historic commencement featuring the U.S. president.

Spring Commencement is a time for students to celebrate the successful completion of their studies, as they prepare to pursue their chosen career and life paths, organizers say.

Gov. Rick Snyder, a U-M alumnus, will deliver the main address to undergraduates. Individual schools, colleges and departments will celebrate graduation with their own festivities and speakers. Notables include Lloyd Carr, former head football coach and associate athletic director; Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author; Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Robin Wright, journalist and author; and Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers.

Spring Commencement

Commencement is at 10 a.m. April 30 in Michigan Stadium. The university will award undergraduate degrees and confer honorary degrees at the event. Beginning at 8 a.m., graduates are to assemble near Michigan Stadium to be organized for their procession into the stadium at 9 a.m. Spring commencement will be broadcast locally on the Michigan Channel (Comcast Channel 22), and live streaming video will be available at

Graduate Exercises

University Graduate Exercises are at 9:30 a.m. April 29 at Hill Auditorium, with Robinson giving the address. This formal ceremony celebrates and individually recognizes the achievements of graduates receiving master’s or doctoral degrees through the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

Assembly for graduates , candidates

University Graduate Exercises begins with an academic procession from the Rackham Building. Graduates and candidates gather at 8:15 a.m. in Rackham Auditorium to prepare for the 9 a.m. procession across Ingalls Mall and into Hill Auditorium. Master’s degree recipients pick up and complete a photo card from the center tables in the Rackham lobby and sit in either the left or right section of the auditorium in no particular order. Doctoral degree recipients pick up name and photo cards at the Ph.D. table in the Rackham lobby and find a numbered seat in the center section of auditorium.


Snyder, the main speaker at Spring Commencement, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Raised in Battle Creek, he earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies in 1977, a Master of Business Administration degree in 1979 and a Juris Doctor in 1982, all from U-M. Snyder joined the Gateway Computer Corp. in its early years, helping guide it to Fortune 500 status. In 1999 he was selected as the first chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Snyder was inaugurated as Michigan’s 48th governor Jan. 1.

Honorary degrees

Honorary degrees will be presented at Spring Commencement. In addition to Snyder, those receiving degrees are Vernon J. Ehlers, former U.S. congressman and physicist, Doctor of Laws; William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors, Ford Motor Co., Doctor of Laws; Shelton “Spike” Lee, film director, producer and writer, Doctor of Fine Arts; Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Doctor of Humane Letters; and Stephen M. Ross, chairman, CEO and managing partner, The Related Companies, L.P., Doctor of Laws.


Michigan Stadium opens at 8 a.m. Families and guests may enter through the Champions, Varsity, Alumni and Wolverine plazas and Gate 9. Accessible entrances for persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs are Gate 2 (Stadium Boulevard), Gate 4 (Stadium Boulevard and Main Street), and Gate 8 (Main Street and Keech). All family members and guests attending Spring Commencement, including children over age 2, need a ticket to enter Michigan Stadium. All tickets are marked with a section number and a range of rows for sitting. All guests are asked to be seated in the stadium prior to 9 a.m., when the graduate procession begins. The ceremony is expected to last from approximately 10-11:45 a.m.

Inclement weather plan

Spring Commencement is scheduled to take place in Michigan Stadium rain or shine. The ceremony may be shortened, suspended or concluded in the event of severe weather. If a schedule adjustment is required due to severe weather, instructions will be given to guests via public address announcements and video screen messages. Graduates and guests are asked to listen for announcements and remain seated until instructed otherwise. Umbrellas are not permitted inside Michigan Stadium. A list of other items that are prohibited in Michigan Stadium can be found on the commencement website.


Spring Commencement guests and graduates are encouraged to use the complimentary shuttle bus service for travel to and from Michigan Stadium. Shuttle services are available beginning at 7:45 a.m. to and from select hotels, central downtown locations, and select university parking lots and structures. Shuttle busses are expected to be busy, so users can expect waits, especially following commencement. All shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible. There are a number of campus lots available for parking and walking to the stadium. To avoid a parking violation, observe all posted notices and regulations. Parking at Pioneer High School also is available at a fee assessed by the public school system.

More celebrations

The following is a list of graduation speakers and ceremonies submitted to the Record by units across campus. For a complete list of activities, go to

Thursday, April 28

Lavender Graduation, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Michigan Union, Rogel Ballroom with speaker Eric Borsum, LBGT activist, entrepreneur and film producer.

Friday, April 29

School of Kinesiology commencement, 8 p.m., Hill Auditorium with Marjorie Albohm, president of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association.

University Graduate Exercises, 9:30 a.m., Hill Auditorium with speaker Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, and U-M alumnus.

Stephen M. Ross School of Business graduation, with speaker Jeff Blau, president of Related Companies in New York, at the BBA and MAcc ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Darys Estrella, CEO of the Dominican stock exchange, and Allan Leandre, president of Maryland-based Vyalex Management Solutions, will be the speakers at the MBA and doctoral ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 30

School of Art & Design Commencement Ceremony, 2 p.m., Art and Architecture Courtyard, with speaker E. Roe Stamps IV, founder of Summit Partners, a venture capital firm headquartered in Boston.

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy commencement, 4:30-p.m., Rackham Auditorium, with speaker Robin Wright, journalist, foreign policy analyst and author.

School of Social Work commencement, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Power Center for Performing Arts with Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers and a 1973 graduate of the School of Social Work.

Saturday, May 7

Law School Senior Day commencement, 2 p.m., Hill Auditorium, with alumnus Rob Portman, newly elected U.S. senator from Ohio.

Friday, May 13

Medical School Commencement Exercises, 3 p.m. at Hill Auditorium with Lloyd Carr, former head football coach and associate athletic director.



Kim Smith, clinical nurse II, East Ann Arbor Health and Geriatric Center, on installing rain collecting systems: “The expression on people’s faces when you are giving them the gift of water … has been priceless.”


“Crystalloid Columns” from Life in Ceramics: Five Contemporary Korean Artists, presented through June 13 in the Taubman Health Center North Lobby, Floor 1, by Gifts of Art.

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