UA Holds 134th Commencement May 13

University Communications
May 11, 2006

University of Arizona students who have completed graduation requirements will receive degrees Saturday, May 13, in two ceremonies at McKale Memorial Center during the UA's 134th Commencement.

In his last commencement, retiring UA President Peter Likins will confer degrees upon 4,678 undergraduates, 929 masters and 229 doctoral students. He will also confer degrees on 19 master of law students (nine in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy and 10 in International Trade Law). Additionally, 88 medical degrees, 63 doctor of pharmacy degrees and 138 juris doctor degrees will be conferred.

This commencement marks the 18th commencement Dr. Likins will preside over since becoming president in 1997. Singer, entertainer and actor Ben Vereen will sing a tribute to Dr. Likins to honor the contributions he has made to the UA during his tenure as president.

The academic procession into McKale for the morning ceremony begins at 9 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony procession begins at 1:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe will deliver the keynote address during the morning ceremony when degrees will be conferred on candidates in the colleges of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture, Education, Engineering and Mines, Humanities, Management and the Law.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will deliver the keynote address during the afternoon ceremony to graduates of the Arizona International College, University College, and to the graduates of the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Fine Arts, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Health Professions.

Honorary degree recipients include Kolbe and Napolitano along with film producer and Emmy Award winner Jerry Bruckheimer; chairman of the board of Bashas' Supermarkets and Arizona civic leader Edward N. Basha Jr.; entrepreneur and Tucson civic leader Paul Baker; developer, education advocate and philanthropist William A. Estes, Jr.; 2005 Nobel Prize winner in physics Roy J. Glauber; and scientist Giancarlo Pepeu, leader in the investigation of the brain's cholinergic system and its affect on memory and learning.

Student Award recipients include:
Robie Medals: Julia Nicole Tatum and Bradley Reid Herrin
Freeman Medals: Erin Blomquist and Brandon J. Lynch
Nugent Awards: Sarah McDonald and Ajit Divakaruni

The Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Samuel Thomas Chandler.

Morning Ceremony Honorary Degree Recipients

Rep. Kolbe will be presented with a doctor of laws honorary degree by Eugene Sander, Ph.D., vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. Kolbe is serving his 11th and last term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Arizona's 8th Congressional District, which includes most of Tucson, eastern Pima County, all of Cochise County and parts of Pinal and Santa Cruz counties. Kolbe is a proven advocate for the UA and the acknowledged Republican leader for free trade and open markets, an impassioned advocate of Social Security reform and a leader and proponent of immigration reform.

William "Bill" A. Estes Jr. will be presented with a doctor of humane letters honorary degree by Ronald W. Marx, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education. Estes was the first in his family to attend college, receiving a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1961 from the UA. He later joined his father's company, becoming CEO of Estes Homes, a company that built affordable housing and neighborhoods for Tucson families. Estes has also championed the development of the Wildcat School, a nonprofit mathematics, science and technology college preparatory charter school that will partner with the UA to serve students in grades six through 12. The research and outcomes of the teaching methods and curriculum will be made available to anyone involved in education within and outside Arizona.

Roy J. Glauber, Ph.D., co-winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics, will be presented with a doctor of science by Joaquin Ruiz, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science, and James Wyant, Ph.D., dean of the College of Optical Sciences. Glauber is the Mallinckrodt professor of physics at Harvard University and an adjunct professor of optical sciences at the UA. Glauber is known as a giant of theoretical physics, where he has made trailblazing contributions to fields ranging from quantum optics to nuclear and particle theory. His work resulted in the birth of the new field of "quantum optics," of which he is the acknowledged father.

Afternoon Ceremony Honorary Degree Recipients:

Gov. Napolitano will be the commencement speaker in the afternoon, at which time she will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree presented by Likins on behalf of Toni Massaro, dean of the James E. Rogers College of Law. Napolitano was born in New York City but raised in the Southwest and is recognized for making education and the protection of children in Arizona the primary focuses of her administration. She has addressed issues in funding for abused and neglected children and started a series of reforms for Child Protective Services. Napolitano's position on budget issues has been to defend education and health expenditures as "investing in what matters."

Jerry Bruckheimer, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of fine arts presented by Maurice Sevigny, Ph.D., dean of the College of Fine Arts. Bruckheimer, the only child of German immigrants, graduated from the UA with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 1967. Bruckheimer teamed with his UA college roommate, Don Simpson, to produce some of the highest-grossing pictures of the 1980s, including "Flashdance," the "Beverly Hills Cop" series and "Top Gun." Subsequent film work includes "Black Hawk Down," "Pearl Harbor," "Remember the Titans," "Glory Road," "King Arthur" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." His television work has included such Emmy-winning dramas as the "CSI" franchise and "Cold Case," and includes the Emmy-winning reality show "The Amazing Race." The UA celebrates Bruckheimer's accomplishments as a producer as the university becomes one of fewer than 10 universities in the country to offer a media arts bachelor of arts degree with an emphasis on producing.

Edward "Eddie" N. Basha Jr. will receive an honorary degree of doctor of science presented by Sander. Eddie Basha is a man with deep roots in Arizona. His grandparents were Arizona pioneers who opened a general store in the mining community of Ray in 1910, two years before statehood. Today, Bashas' is the only family-owned supermarket chain in Arizona. Basha has invested a significant amount of his time and resources to advance educational endeavors in Arizona. His life is defined by his commitment to education and to community service in the state of Arizona and the UA is proud to recognize these efforts, making Eddie Basha an honorary degree holder at all three of the state's universities.

Paul Baker has been an ardent supporter of the UA, which will recognize him with a doctor of humane letters presented by Edward Donnerstein, Ph.D., dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Baker has been a pillar of the Tucson and UA communities for over 30 years. He left his native New York to enroll at the UA in 1960, and though he did not graduate, he began applying his education to real-world situations, initiating a remarkable entrepreneurial career. Baker has had a transformative impact on local, national and international organizations through his philanthropy and his mentoring of future leaders. He has served on the boards of more than 19 prominent organizations and has supported more than 30 humanitarian, educational and artistic organizations worldwide, providing sage leadership that enabled these organizations to grow and succeed.

Giancarlo Pepeu, Ph.D., will be honored with a doctor of science, which will be presented by Donnerstein. Pepeu published his first paper in an international journal in 1959. Since then, his main scientific interest has been to investigate the function, role and pharmacological modulation of the brain cholinergic system. Pepeu has greatly contributed to the UA's BRAVO! program (Biomedical Research Abroad Vistas Open). The BRAVO! program connects students interested in research with scientist abroad to advance international collaboration and research. The scientific experience and personal attention Pepeu has given to these students has been unparalleled among those who participated in BRAVO! The UA celebrates his collaborative spirit with this honorary degree.

The following alumni and student awards will be distributed during the morning or afternoon ceremonies based on the students' college and its allotted session for convocation.

Other Awards:
The Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Samuel Thomas Chandler.

Chandler entered the UA and received a bachelor of arts degree in 1942. After a year working on airbase construction projects, he entered the College of Law, where he graduated first in the class in 1946. During his early practice, Chandler established a reputation as one of the finest young trial lawyers, earning him recognition as a fellow and then as a regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Most importantly, Chandler has worked publicly and privately to support higher education, having served as a member of the Arizona Board Regents from 1976 to 1984, and he has been a constant source of strength for the UA James E. Rogers College of Law. Chandler's support for the opportunities of ethnic minorities and women in education and the legal profession led the Arizona Minority Bar Association to bestow its Community Service Award on him.

Student Awards:

Robie Medals: Julia Nicole Tatum and Bradley Reid Herrin

Tatum will receive a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from the College of Science with a minor in Spanish. She is an honors graduate and has been selected as Outstanding Senior in the chemistry department. Tatum is not only an excellent student, but she is also committed to volunteerism. She started a volunteer program that regularly travels to Imuris, Mexico, donating gifts and spending time with underprivileged children, and has traveled to Tanzania to teach HIV/AIDS education and volunteer in an orphanage. Tatum has been accepted to six medical schools and will pursue a master's degree in public health.

Herrin will receive a bachelor of health sciences degree with a major in physiology and a minor in chemistry. Herrin is graduating with honors in international studies, with a focus on international health and development in East Africa. Herrin's greatest contribution to the UA community has been his involvement in establishing Students for International Change, an organization dedicated to two goals: mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in northern Tanzania and training future leaders in international health. Herrin intends to apply to medical school.

Freeman Medals: Erin Blomquist and Brandon J. Lynch

Blomquist has already received a bachelor of science in biochemistry and molecular biophysics and will be graduating with a bachelor of science in engineering in biosystems engineering -- both with honors.

As a freshman, she joined the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and receiving the Outstanding Freshman Award. She then became a member of the Engineering Ambassadors program. Blomquist has worked as a tutor and undergraduate teaching assistant, which fueled her interest in research and helped to develop a method to convert sweet sorghum to ethanol. After graduation, Blomquist will pursue a masters of science in biosystems engineering.

Lynch, graduating with honors, will receive a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology with a minor in ecology from the College of Science. Lynch has given to the Tucson community since his freshman year by mentoring students at Ironwood Ridge High School through the nondenominational high school ministry, Young Life. Lynch's interest in medicine and public health began early on when he volunteered in the cancer ward of a children's hospital in Romania and later as a podiatry intern at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland. After graduation, Lynch will continue his studies as a medical student, pursuing a combined medical degree and masters degree in public health.

Nugent Awards: Sarah McDonald and Ajit Divakaruni

McDonald will be graduating with a bachelor of science degree from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She will receive a degree with honors in environmental and water resource economics and minor in geography. In addition, she was selected as outstanding senior in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. McDonald grew up on a cattle ranch near the U.S.-Mexico border, sparking an early interest in issues concerning agriculture and the environment. She helped launch the Arizona Chapter of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, a student organization that promotes agricultural industry education and awareness. She is one of three founders of the Magna Mentoring Project, a high school mentoring program for underprivileged students. After graduation, McDonald will attend the UA's nationally ranked agricultural economics master's program in environmental and natural resource economics.

Divakaruni will graduate with honors in three disciplines, earning a bachelor of science triple-major in biochemistry and molecular biophysics, molecular and cellular biology and mathematics. Divakaruni's extensive commitment to scientific research, educational outreach and service to the UA earned him the highly competitive Marshall Scholarship. While at the UA, Divakaruni has worked with Dr. Timothy Secomb, Director of the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Microcirculation, on a mathematical model of tumor metabolism. Upon graduation, Divakaruni will attend Cambridge University and aims to earn a doctorate in biochemistry.

For information on awardees and the commencement ceremony, please contact Rebecca Ruiz McGill, media relations manager, at (520) 621-1878 or


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The University of Arizona's 134th Commencement