BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 1,620 degrees today during three commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, on the Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 139,000 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the university opened its doors in 1964.
“It is an honor to be here today to celebrate the hard work and successes of Florida Atlantic University’s students,” said FAU President John Kelly. “I join all family members and friends in congratulating the graduates on reaching this major milestone in their lives.”
Chief Jim Henson, a former tribal chief of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes in the United States, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at 9 a.m. A frequent guest lecturer, Henson has taught faculty and students about Native American culture and consulted on research projects. He has also provided valuable collaborative assistance to John Lowe, Ph.D., Wymer distinguished professor of nursing at FAU, in securing a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a five-year research project to test the effectiveness of the Talking Circle approach in preventing substance abuse among Native American youth.
Arthur Jaffe, 93, dedicated FAU benefactor and founder of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at FAU’s Wimberly Library, will receive the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion also at 9 a.m. The medallion is awarded to individuals who have rendered service of great value to the University or the community at large.
Florida State Sen. Garrett Richter will serve as the commencement speaker at the 1 p.m. ceremony. Richter is serving in his second term, representing portions of Collier and Lee counties. He was unanimously elected as President Pro Tempore of the Senate in November 2012. He previously served one term in the Florida House of Representatives.
Aaron Higer, a former researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey and a visionary leader in science whose contributions have helped Florida to understand, protect and restore America’s Everglades, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at the 5 p.m. commencement ceremony.
Spring commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:
· Gabrielle Bush, 18, is one of FAU’s youngest graduates this semester. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in health administration from the College of Business cum laude today at 1 p.m., just three months after graduating from FAU High School. One of nine children, she and two of her sisters are FAU graduates. Her sister, Gisla, led the way when she graduated with honors in 2013 and moved on to a master’s degree program in Urban & Regional Planning. Her sister, Grace, graduated in May at the age of 16 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice a few weeks before graduating from FAU High.
· Kalman Fagan is the oldest member of FAU’s summer commencement, at the age of 76. Today at 5 p.m., he will receive a master’s degree in public administration from the College for Design and Social Inquiry. Four years ago, he completed all requirements at FAU for not just one, but two bachelor’s degrees – one in criminal justice and the other in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in art history. This fall he’ll begin the master’s degree program in music business administration, under the guidance of our Michael Zager, FAU’s eminent scholar in the performing arts.
· Vincent Byaruhanga, a Catholic priest who serves the Kabale Diocese in Uganda, will graduate with a Ph.D. in public administration at 5 p.m. from the College for Design and Social Inquiry. He came to FAU in 2009 and decided to focus on the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which had just gone into effect. His analysis of this critical economic stimulus initiative was so incisive that he’s been invited to present his findings at the Southeast Conference for Public Administration, which will be in Atlanta this fall. He’s also preparing two articles for publication in economic journals. Byaruhanga plans on becoming a university professor, either here in America or back in Uganda. Wherever he settles, he intends to establish a nonprofit organization to support the education of orphans and other children in his home village.
“Each and every year at Commencement, I’m reminded of the impact FAU has, and will continue to have, on its students, faculty, staff and the six-county region it serves,” said Anthony Barbar, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees. “Speaking for the Trustees, I commend the Class of 2014. As an FAU alumnus myself, I’m moved and impressed by the accomplishments of this year’s graduates.”
Some interesting statistics regarding the summer graduating class include the fact that 63 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50. The oldest graduate is 76, and the youngest is 17. The graduates represent 36 countries.
For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at www.fau.edu.