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Commencement ceremonies to take place May 17 at Illinois

4/30/2009 | Phil Ciciora, News Editor | 217-333-2177;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The 138th commencement of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be held in two ceremonies May 17 (Sunday) at the Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., Champaign.

The speaker at the 10:30 a.m. ceremony will be Suze Orman, Emmy Award-winner, New York Times best-selling author, TV host and philanthropist, and Illinois alumna; at the 2 p.m. ceremony, the speaker will be Carl Schramm, the president and chief executive officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

At the 10:30 a.m. ceremony, candidates in the colleges of Applied Health Sciences; Law; Liberal Arts and Sciences; Media; Veterinary Medicine; the Institute of Aviation; the School of Labor and Employment Relations; the School of Social Work; and the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences will receive degrees.

Candidates in the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering; and Fine and Applied Arts will receive degrees at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for the morning ceremony and at 1 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. After all students and their guests are seated, the remaining seats will be available to the public. Shuttle buses also will stop at various campus locations, including the Assembly Hall, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All students who have earned bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees and advanced certificates during the preceding year are honored at the annual commencement.

Suze Orman, called “a one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA Today, has won two Emmys and is the author of seven consecutive New York Times best-selling books. A magazine and online columnist, as well as a writer and producer, she is a motivational speaker and a leading expert on personal finance.

In May, Orman will be named to the TIME 100, the magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people, for the second consecutive year. She also was the recipient of the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign.

Orman is a contributing editor for the Costco Connection magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine. She hosts “The Suze Orman Show” on CNBC and on Sirius XM radio.

Orman is the most successful fundraiser in the history of public television and has won more Gracies than anyone in the 32-year history of the awards, which recognize exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of electronic media, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry. Orman grew up on the South Side of Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at Illinois.

Hailed by The Economist magazine as the “evangelist of entrepreneurship,” Schramm has raised awareness around the world of the central role that the entrepreneurial process plays in economies and societies.

Trained as an economist and lawyer, he has pushed for including entrepreneurship in the curricula of many of the nation’s colleges and universities. The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership on the Urbana campus was made possible by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation under his leadership.

Schramm’s recent books, “Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism,” with Robert Litan and William Baumol, and “The Entrepreneurial Imperative,” are regarded as emerging classics, providing new insight into American and international economies.

Schramm’s work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, and many academic journals. He is a contributing editor of Inc. magazine.

In 2007, Schramm was appointed chairperson of the Department of Commerce’s Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economic Advisory Committee.

The UI Alumni Association will present two Alumni Achievement Awards at the 10:30 a.m. ceremony:

Champaign native Bill Geist will be honored for his contributions to journalism and his humorous observations celebrating the individuality and humanity of American life. A correspondent for CBS News “Sunday Morning” since 1987, the two-time Emmy Award winner has lent his unique brand of storytelling to CBS News, CBS Sports and “60 Minutes”; to publications ranging from Rolling Stone to Forbes, Vogue and Esquire; and to news Web sites such as “The Daily Beast.” He has also served as a Vietnam combat photographer and a columnist for The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Illinois in 1968.

Receiving the University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award at the 10:30 a.m. ceremony:

Ron Miller will be honored for championing the causes of the disadvantaged in society. Throughout his legal career, Miller has worked to establish services for the elderly, the disabled and the incarcerated. He has also been active in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties and international human rights. In 1995, Miller established the Public Affairs Roundtable, a group that regularly gathers leaders in diverse fields to discuss issues such as law, politics, the economy, health care and public housing. A senior partner at Miller Shakman & Beem LLP, Miller has received distinguished honors from many groups, including the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the American Constitution Society. He received a bachelor’s in business in 1954 from Illinois and a law degree in 1955 from U. of I.

Receiving the University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award at the 2 p.m. ceremony:

Ed McMillan will be honored for the professional expertise and selfless devotion he has extended to the University of Illinois. Growing up on a family farm, he became the president and CEO of Purina Mills and currently heads McMillan LLC, an adviser to agribusiness industries. As a mergers and acquisition professional with leadership experience, McMillan proved crucial in the development of the University’s Research Park, where he served on its board of managers as the park moved from conception to the complex realities of joining the academy to the business world. McMillan has given his time as a member and chairman of the UI Alumni Association Board and has assisted the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences in its physical and academic growth. Additionally, McMillan was recently nominated by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to serve on the UI Board of Trustees. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois in 1969.

The University of Illinois Alumni Association cordially invites all graduates, candidates and their families to GradFest 2009, an open house at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, on May 16 (Saturday) from noon to 2 p.m. The day will include tours of the facility, food and beverages, and live entertainment.

All graduating students and their guests are invited to a reception hosted by university President B. Joseph White and Richard Herman, chancellor of the Urbana campus, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. May 17 in the gardens of the president’s house, 711 W. Florida Ave., Urbana. Academic attire is encouraged.

The first floor of the main library will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. May 16 and May 17 for visitors and students to view the University Honors Bronze Tablets.

Many individual UI units have scheduled additional commencement ceremonies. All take place on May 17, except as noted:


Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences – 4:30 p.m., May 16, Assembly Hall.

Applied Health Sciences – 9 a.m., May 16, Assembly Hall.

Business – 12:30 p.m., May 16, Assembly Hall.

Education – 9:30 a.m., 100 George Huff Hall, 1206 S. Fourth St., Champaign.

Engineering – 4:30 p.m., Assembly Hall.

Law – 12:30 p.m., May 16, Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana.

Media – 2 p.m., Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

Veterinary Medicine – 1:30 p.m., Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.


Architecture – 10 a.m., Foellinger Auditorium.

Art and Design – 10 a.m., Tryon Festival Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Graduate School of Library and Information Science – 1:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Smith Memorial Hall.

Music – 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Smith Memorial Hall.

Social Work – 1 p.m., May 16, Smith Memorial Hall.


Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – 1:30 p.m., Colwell Playhouse, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Chemistry– 1:30 p.m., Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Communication – 12:30 p.m., May 16, Foellinger Auditorium.

Economics (LAS) and Finance (LAS) – 10 a.m., May 16, Foellinger Auditorium.

English and Rhetoric – 3 p.m., May 16, Foellinger Auditorium.

History and Philosophy – 4 p.m., May 16, Smith Memorial Hall.

Landscape Architecture – 10:30 a.m., Sunken Garden, Allerton Park, Route 2, Monticello; in case of rain, Miller School Gymnasium, 100 W. Jefferson St., Monticello.

Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (LAS) – 4 p.m., Tryon Festival Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Physics and Astronomy – 2 p.m., May 16, 151 Loomis Laboratory of Physics, 1110 W. Green St., Urbana.

Psychology – 4:30 p.m., Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

School of Literatures, Cultures, & Linguistics – 5:30 p.m., May 16, Foellinger Auditorium.

Social Sciences – 4 p.m., May 16, Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Sociology, Anthropology, and Earth Sciences – 10 a.m., May 16, Huff Hall.

Theatre – 10 a.m., Colwell Playhouse, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Urban and Regional Planning – 9:30 a.m., Illinois Conference Center, 1900 S. First Street, Champaign.


Aviation – 2 p.m., Illini Union Rooms A and B on the first floor.

School of Labor and Employment Relations – 3 p.m., May 16, 141 Wohlers Hall, 1206 S. Sixth St., Champaign.


African-American Cultural Program – 6:30 p.m., May 16, 100 George Huff Hall.

La Casa Cultural Latina – 7:30 p.m., May 16, Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Native American House – 6 p.m., May 16, Illini Union, Illini Rooms A and B.


Phi Beta Kappa – 7:30 p.m., May 15, Illini Union Ballroom.


Tri-Service ROTC Commissioning Ceremony – 11 a.m., May 18, Foellinger Auditorium.

For more information on additional commencement ceremonies of individual U. of I. units, visit

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