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  May 3, 2004

Commencement Ceremonies Mark
Rite Of Passage For Thousands

It's one week earlier than usual, and the ceremonies have been flip-flopped - graduate students on Saturday, undergraduates on Sunday - but this year's Commencement will have all the usual pomp and circumstance associated with the annual rite of passage for thousands of UConn students.

Beginning Saturday, University officials will preside over Commencement ceremonies in Storrs, Farmington, and Hartford, on three consecutive weekends. Before the dust settles, about 5,000 new job seekers, 104 new doctors and dentists, and 138 new attorneys will strike out on their own.

Dr. John W. Rowe, chair of UConn's Board of Trustees, will deliver the annual undergraduate Commencement address to more than 3,000 graduating seniors on May 9, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Rowe, chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna Inc., one of the nation's leading health care and related benefits organizations, is an expert on geriatric medicine. He was a professor of medicine and founding director of the Division on Aging at Harvard Medical School.

On Saturday, May 8, students earning master's and doctoral degrees from the University will hear an address from Gene E. Likens, director of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. An expert in the study of forest, stream, and lake ecosystems, Likens has won dozens of accolades and awards, including the National Medal of Science, which he received during a ceremony at the White House in June 2002.

Likens also will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony at Gampel Pavilion.

On May 16, future doctors and dentists graduating from the UConn Health Center in Farmington will be addressed by author Francisco Jimenez, who has followed and written about the plight of migrant workers in the United States. He was selected as Commencement speaker at the urging of the graduating students, many of whom participated in a Health Center summer program helping migrant farm workers in Connecticut.

And, on May 23, budding attorneys will be addressed by Dennis Wayne Archer, mayor of the city of Detroit, Mich., from 1994-2001, and currently chairman of the firm of Dickinson Wright PLLC. A former president of the National League of Cities, Archer also will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 10:30 a.m. ceremony, on the grounds of the UConn School of Law on Elizabeth Street in Hartford.