Friday, April 05, 2002

Miami returns to campus-wide commencement

ABC's Gibson to speak at ceremony

By Cassie Carothers
Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — For the first time since the 1980s, Miami University graduates will hear a celebrity speaker at this spring's commencement ceremony.

        ABC news veteran Charles Gibson will speak to graduates at the university-wide May 5 ceremony. Miami had halted the annual practice of inviting well-known outside speakers after it went to a two-ceremony format in 1985.

        Because of overcrowding, the university honored education and business students in the morning, and the rest of the graduating class in the afternoon.

        The ceremony will be held in Yager Stadium, which has a capacity of 30,000, significantly more than 10,000-seat Millett Hall, which is where the ceremonies traditionally have been held.

        “It's great that we have a speaker, because they can cap off everything you've done in college, but give you perspective about the world you're about to enter,” marketing senior Ben Kaufman said. "

        Miami President James Garland selected Mr. Gibson, who will receive $35,000, from dozens of possible candidates.

        “"We wanted someone with a national visibility to set the tone to participate at the commencement,” Richard Little, director of communications at Miami, said Thursday. “He's a serious, working journalist, but someone who can deliver the right style of speech people will enjoy at an event like this.”

        Mr. Gibson is overseas covering the Mideast conflict and was not available for comment. An ABC official said the network played no part in arranging Mr. Gibson's participation in the ceremony.

        Some 3,500 students will be eligible to participate in this May's ceremonies.

        Students and families are also invited to attend smaller graduation ceremonies for the six individual academic divisions on May 4 at various locations. Students will have their names called, be handed a diploma cover, and have a photograph taken at the ceremonies.

        The university-wide ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are not required.


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