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Commencement ceremonies take place May 13 at Illinois

Jeff Unger, News Bureau 217-333-1085

Released 4/27/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The 136th commencement of the University of Illinois will be held in two ceremonies May 13 (Sunday) at the Assembly Hall, 1800 S. First St., Champaign.

The speaker at both ceremonies will be alumnus Jawed Karim, a co-founder of YouTube, a popular video-sharing Web site.

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

Candidates in the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering; and Fine and Applied Arts will receive their 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 locations on campus, including Assembly Hall, from 9 a.m. to 6 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.

Karim will be the first recipient of the Chancellor’s No Boundaries Award. This distinction will be conferred upon alumni younger than 40 whose accomplishments reflect the Illinois heritage of excellence, service and global reach.

Karim attended Illinois from 1997 until 2000, when he joined PayPal to become one of its first developers. He completed his remaining credits at Illinois by correspondence and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2004.

In 2005, Karim co-founded YouTube with two friends, co-developing the concept and product. He subsequently acted as an adviser to the company and now is a graduate student in computer science at Stanford University. He is also an investor in early stage startups through Youniversity Ventures, an advisory venture fund he founded.

Those who will receive honorary degrees during the 2 p.m. ceremony:

• William D. Nix, Lee Otterson Professor of Engineering at Stanford University, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received several awards over the course of his career. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering. Nix has studied the mechanical properties of materials for more than 40 years. His work has led to the development of many techniques used to study thin film mechanical properties. He and his students also research the growth, characterization and modeling of thin film microstructures, especially as they relate to the development of intrinsic stresses. Nix received his doctorate from Stanford in 1963.

• Genshitsu Sen, Former Grandmaster of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea, is widely known as a global-minded promoter of the culture embraced by the Way of Tea and World Peace. He has introduced the Way of Tea to royalty and leaders around the world. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.

The recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion, given in recognition of life’s work, will be Timothy J. Nugent, professor and director emeritus of the Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services at Illinois. During his 37-year career at the U. of I., Nugent developed functional rehabilitation and training programs that are now common to virtually all rehabilitation programs today.

The alumni association will present four awards at the commencement ceremonies:

Receiving the Alumni Achievement Award:

Philip L. Francis, president and chief executive officer of the retail chain PETsMART Inc. Under his leadership, the company has grown to more than 900 stores nationwide and expanded its services to offer in-store veterinary care, boarding, training, grooming and placement of lost and abandoned animals on behalf of animal rescue groups. Francis began his career in Champaign through an internship with the grocery retailer Jewel, eventually rising to become the company’s executive vice president. He has also held top posts with Cardinal Foods and Shaw’s Supermarkets. In 1998, while a member of PETsMART’s board of directors, Francis decided to take on his present job while involved in a search for the right executive to fill the position. A leader in the United Way, he is active in civic affairs in the Phoenix area, where he lives. Francis graduated from Illinois in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Robert Eden Martin, a former chairman and partner at Sidley Austin LLP, continues to serve the Chicago law firm in “of counsel” status. He is known for outstanding regulatory and appellate work. He has appeared before the supreme courts of Illinois and the United States and in appellate and federal circuit courts around the state and nation. In addition to his professional work, he has devoted considerable time to charitable and civic leadership positions, including serving as the current president of the Commercial Club of Chicago, which addresses the city’s social and economic issues. A longtime board member of the U. of I. Foundation, Martin is involved in leadership roles in a range of organizations and companies, such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Nicor, Aon, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Historical Society. In addition to serving the needs of one of the nation’s largest cities, he remains involved with his small hometown of Sullivan and the history of the surrounding area. Martin received a bachelor’s degree in science and letters from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1962.

Dr. Arnyce R. Pock, the medical director for the Air Force Medical Corps, has advanced the cause of military health worldwide. She led development of the U.S. International Health Specialist Program and serves as chief of medical force management for the U.S. Air Force Medical Service. Pock has cultivated relationships and alliances on behalf of the Air Force in England, Gambia, Iraq, Ireland, Russia and South Africa and with NATO’s medical reserve force. The recipient of five Meritorious Service medals and commendation and achievement medals from the Air Force, Pock has been involved in such military operations as Desert Shield and Desert Storm and in the support of a space shuttle mission. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is board-certified as an internal medicine specialist. A member of ROTC as a student, Pock earned a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1981 from LAS.

Receiving the Distinguished Service Award:

Thanks to a gift from Lila Jeanne “Shorty” Eichelberger and her late husband, Paul, the U. of I.’s softball team has its own “field of dreams” – Eichelberger Field. The stadium, dedicated in his memory in 2001, hosts a state-of-the-art, 1,500-seat facility considered to be one of the premier softball complexes in the nation. In addition to her unwavering support of softball, Eichelberger was a charter member of the support clubs for UI baseball, women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball and remains a fan of football and men’s basketball as well. Eichelberger, a former teacher, actively volunteers in the community and has given generously to the UI Foundation, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, 4-H and the College of ACES. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics in 1949 and 1952, respectively, and an advanced certificate in education in 1968.

Receiving the Alumni Humanitarian Award:

Kenneth and Colleen Braid used a tragedy in their own lives to educate young people about the harmful effects of steroid use – which took the life of their 16-year-old son in 1994. The Braids channeled their grief into starting the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation in Villa Grove, Colo., an organization that offers summer leadership training to upcoming high school juniors in the hope that these role models may help make a
life-saving difference to their peers in need. Since the foundation’s inception, the Braids have hosted more than 1,300 students from all over the nation, as well as conducted seminars to help coaches better understand their student-athletes. More than 70 graduates of the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation have enrolled as students at Illinois. The Braids received their UI bachelor’s degrees in physical education in 1974.

All graduating students and their guests are invited to a reception hosted by university President B. Joseph White and Richard Herman, the chancellor of the Urbana campus, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. May 13 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 12 and May 13 for visitors and students to view the University Honors Bronze Tablets.

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