UB to Hold 155th General Commencement Ceremony May 13

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: April 27, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Some 6,000 students are candidates to receive degrees during the University at Buffalo's 155th general commencement ceremony, to be held at 10 a.m. May 13 in Alumni Arena on the North (Amherst) Campus, and during 13 other ceremonies May 11-13 and May 18.

Speaking at the general commencement ceremonies will be UB President William R. Greiner and graduating senior Takiyah Nur Amin.

Greiner and Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi will confer degrees.

UB's highest award, the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, will be presented to Paul W. Kurtz, UB philosophy professor emeritus and a leading authority on secular humanism and rational inquiry.

The State University of New York honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be conferred on four recipients during three commencement ceremonies.

Receiving the degree at the general commencement ceremony will be Alison Des Forges, a leading investigator into human-rights abuses and genocide in Burundi and Rwanda, and William Siemering, one of National Public Radio's founding members and a former general manager of WBFO FM-88.7, UB's NPR affiliate.

Hatim A. Tyabji , a UB alumnus and internationally recognized pioneer in the field of wireless data technology, will receive the honorary degree and speak at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. May 12 in Alumni Arena.

Also speaking will be Henry Stone, UB alumnus and a retired vice president of General Electric, who will receive the Engineering Dean's Award.

In addition, Greiner, Dean Mark Karwan and student David Warren will speak at the ceremony. Greiner will confer degrees.

H. William Lichtenberger, a UB alumnus and retired chairman and chief executive officer of Praxair Inc., will receive the honorary degree and speak at the School of Management commencement ceremony at 5 p.m. May 12 in Alumni Arena. Also speaking will be SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King, Dean Lewis Mandell and student Jerold Yee. Greiner and Capaldi will confer degrees.

Ten students will receive special awards during the general commencement.

Recipients of the SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence will be Jennifer L. Broderick, Catherine L. Ferraris, Xin Hu, Karen A. Kopecky and Anthony A. Noody.

Cindy D. Forte will receive the Senior Leadership Award.

Four graduates will receive the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Outstanding Awards: Siew-ai Kok in the arts, Ji-Hyae Park in the humanities, Brendan Mort in science and mathematics, and Karen A. Kopecky in social and behavioral sciences.

They are among the top students named from the 27 departments in the college.

Vocalist at the general commencement will be Angela L. Fraas.

The Norton Medal is presented annually in public recognition of a person who has, in Norton's words, "performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo...a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement, or any other thing which, in itself, is truly great and ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world."

Norton Medal recipient Paul Kurtz, is founder and chairman of the Center for Inquiry. His book, "The Transcendental Temptation," a seminal work in secular humanism, has been translated into many languages. In 1969, he founded Prometheus Books, considered by many to be the world's foremost publisher in the areas of philosophy, science and critical thinking.

Kurtz is highly sought after as a guest lecturer around the world. His observations on the paranormal have made him a popular guest on radio and television shows, including "All Things Considered," "The McNeil-Lehrer Report," "Good Morning America," "The Today Show," "Larry King Live" and "Oprah."

Alison Des Forges, who will receive a SUNY honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree, is known for her dedication in eradicating human-rights abuses and leading investigations into human-rights abuses and genocide in Burundi and Rwanda. Her 1999 book, "Leave None to Tell the Tale," made the public more aware of the recent and continuing atrocities in these nations.

Her work is funded by a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." Well-respected as a teacher and historian, she has taught and lectured at universities around the globe.

H. William Lichtenberger, is a world-renowned leader in chemical manufacturing. As a teen-ager, he was forced to flee from the former Yugoslavia and later earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and his MBA from the UB School of Management. He worked his way up the corporate ladder at the former Union Carbide Co. before becoming chairman and chief executive officer of the newly formed Praxair Inc. Now retired, he led Praxair in becoming one of the largest in the global industrial-gases industry with annual sales nearing $5 billion. In 1997, he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from UB and has played a key role in helping to develop the university's Executive MBA program with Renmin University in Beijing.

As a former general manager of WBFO, William Siemering, transformed the station from an informal, student-run organization into a full-time professional broadcast station with a reputation for groundbreaking programming. He went on to lead award-winning, public-radio stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia, creating the network's flagship 90-minute news program, "All Things Considered," and also developing "Fresh Air," a popular, live-interview and arts show. His achievements earned him the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's highest tribute, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and last May, he received NPR's top honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hatim A. Tyabji, after 13 years of leading manufacturing initiatives at Sperry Corp., led the small-scale fledgling company Verifone to international prominence. Under his guidance, the company became famous as a model of a progressive, humanitarian business operation, and one that came to define the global standard for transaction automation. He is most recently chairman of another new company, Saraide. A devoted and energetic alumnus, he recently funded an endowed professorship in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to honor his wife, Durriya.

Among the other speakers at UB commencement ceremonies will be:

• Bernard A. Tolbert, (M.S.W. '73, B.S. '71), corporate security manager for Coca-Cola Bottling Corp. in Atlanta and former FBI special agent-director of the Buffalo office, who will speak at the School of Social Work ceremony at 9 a.m. May 12 in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. Kerry S. Grant, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, will confer degrees.

• The Hon. Julio M. Fuentes (J.D. '75), justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, who will address graduates at the Law School ceremony at 1 p.m. May 12 in the Center for the Arts. Grant will confer degrees.

• Robert M. Bennett (M.S. '81) New York State regent, will speak at the Graduate School of Education ceremony at 5 p.m. May 12 in the Center for the Arts. Grant will confer degrees.

• The Hon. Paul A. Tokasz, majority leader of the New York State Assembly, who will speak at the School of Architecture and Planning commencement at 2 p.m. May 12 on the lawn in front of Hayes Hall on the South (Main Street) Campus. Senior Vice Provost Kenneth J. Levy, who is serving as interim dean of the school, will confer degrees.

Other ceremonies scheduled at UB, speakers and those who will confer degrees are:

• Graduate School, 1 p.m., May 11, Center for the Arts. Speakers will be Janine M. Santiago, president, and Matthew R. Doubrava, vice president, Graduate Student Association. Capaldi will confer degrees.

• School of Health Related Professions, 9 a.m., May 12, Alumni Arena. Christopher Bork, Ph.D., (B.S. '69), dean of the School of Allied Health and director of the Center for Creative Instruction at the Medical College of Ohio, will speak. Greiner will confer degrees.

• School of Nursing, 9 a.m. May 12, Slee Concert Hall, North Campus. Speaker will be Cathleen R. Wright (D.N.S. '92, M.S. '85), vice president for corporate nursing for Kaleida Corp. Michael E. Bernardino, vice president for health affairs, will confer degrees.

• School of Information Studies, 10 a.m., May 12, Student Union Theatre, North Campus. Raymond Santiago, director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System, will speak. Levy will confer degrees.

• School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1 p.m., May 12, Slee Concert Hall. The speaker will be Dean Wayne K. Anderson. Bernardino will confer degrees.

• School of Dental Medicine, 2 p.m., May 13, Center for the Arts. The speaker will be Murray Rosenthal (D.D.S. '93). Bernardino will confer degrees.

• School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2 p.m., May 18, Center for the Arts. The speaker will be Ronald Dozoretz (M.D. '62), chairman and chief executive officer of FHC Health Systems. Greiner, Bernardino and John R. Wright, dean of the medical school and senior associate vice president for curricular affairs, will confer degrees.