MU to Award Nearly 5,000 Degrees at Spring 2009 Commencement Ceremonies
Irish ambassador, 'green building movement' co-founder to receive honorary degrees
May 7, 2009
Story Contact: Christian Basi, (573) 882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu
COLUMBIA, Mo. -In the final days of the semester, students are completing their final papers and presentations, studying for exams, and trying on their caps and gowns in preparation for graduation ceremonies at the University of Missouri.
During the 2009 Spring Commencement Ceremonies, May 15-17, MU officials will confer 4,963 degrees to undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
"We are very pleased to know that these well-educated graduates whom we admitted to MU a few years ago will now be joining other Mizzou alumni to help make the world a better place," said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment at MU.
Honorary degrees will be awarded to Bob Berkebile and John G. Bruton. Berkebile is a Kansas City-based architect and one of the founders of the "green building movement." He is the founding member of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects, the firm that designed MU's Reynolds Alumni Center and the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Building. Berkebile will receive his honorary degree during the Graduate School's commencement ceremony at 8 p.m., Friday, May 15 at the Hearnes Center.
Bruton is a European Union ambassador to the United States and former prime minister of Ireland. He has played a critical role in building relationships between Irish universities and the University of Missouri. Bruton will receive his honorary degree during the honor's convocation ceremony at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 16 on the Francis Quadrangle.
Each MU school and college will hold an individual commencement ceremony, many featuring guest speakers. Speakers featured at this year's ceremonies include:
- Jeremiah (Jay) W. Nixon, Missouri governor and 1981 School of Law alumnus - School of Law
- Dorothy Gaiter, wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal - School of Journalism
- Mary McPhail Gray, division chief, Office of Food Safety, Nutrition and Health, USDA's Research, Education and Extension Office - College of Human Environmental Sciences
- Debbye Turner, MU alumna, former Miss America and correspondent for CBS' The Early Show - College of Veterinary Medicine
At the ceremonies, MU will award 3,356 bachelor's degrees, 1,052 master's degrees, 301 professional degrees, 24 education specialist degrees and 230 doctorates.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A detailed schedule of events and biographical information about Berkebile and Bruton are attached. For more information on the commencement ceremonies, graduation traditions and Columbia accommodations, visit http://commencement.missouri.edu/springcer.htm
Schedule of May 2009 Commencement Ceremonies
University of Missouri
Monday, May 11 - Sunday, May 17
Speaker: Brady Deaton, MU chancellor
Friday, May 15
College of Veterinary Medicine
1 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
*Reception follows in the Reynolds Alumni Center
Speaker: Debbye Turner, MU alumna, former Miss America and correspondent for CBS' The Early Show
Sinclair School of Nursing
4 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
*Reception follows in the Jesse Hall Rotunda
Speakers: Andrea Lindner and Ryan "Nate" Harris, BSN candidates; Todd Ruppat, doctoral candidate
Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
5 p.m., Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Gary Forsee, UM system president
College of Engineering
6:30 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
Speaker: Arthur D. "Don" Wainwright, MU alumnus and chairman and CEO of Wainwright Industries
8 p.m., Hearnes Center
Speaker: Bob Berkebile, architect and MU honorary degree recipient
Saturday, May 16
*This is open to students who are graduating with honors certificates, departmental honors, divisional honors or Latin honors.
9 a.m., Francis Quadrangle (Rain Location: Mizzou Arena)
Speaker: John G. Bruton, European Union ambassador to the United States and MU honorary degree recipient
School of Natural Resources
12 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
*Reception follows in the Jesse Hall Rotunda.
Speaker: Paul Strong, deputy supervisor, USDA Forest Service - Mark Twain National Forest
College of Arts & Science
1 p.m., Hearnes Center
Speaker: Major General Gregg F. Martin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood
School of Medicine
2:30 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
*Reception follows in the Jesse Hall Rotunda.
Speaker: Sir John Oldham, head of the Improvement Foundation and international expert in quality improvement
College of Education
3 p.m., Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Peter Stiepleman, principal, West Boulevard Elementary School, Columbia, Mo.
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
5 p.m., Hearnes Center
* Reception follows in the Hearnes Center
Speaker: Chancellor Brady Deaton
Note: The School of Natural Resources ceremony will be held separately.
School of Journalism
6:30 p.m., Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Dorothy Gaiter, wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal
School of Health Professions
7 p.m., Jesse Auditorium in Jesse Hall
Speaker: Stu Palonsky, professor of education and director of the MU Honors College
Sunday, May 17
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
*This event recognizes ROTC officers who are graduating and who are receiving a commission in the U.S. Armed Forces.
12 p.m., Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton III, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, U.S. Air Force
School of Law
1:30 p.m., Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall
*Reception follows in the Law School Courtyard
Speaker: Jeremiah (Jay) W. Nixon, Missouri governor 1981 school of law alum
College of Human Environmental Sciences
*All students graduating from the School of Social Work will participate in this ceremony.
3:30 p.m., Mizzou Arena
Speaker: Mary McPhail Gray, division chief, Office of Food Safety, Nutrition and Health, USDA's Research, Education and Extension Office
Bob Berkebile, honorary degree recipient
Architect Bob Berkebile has committed his life to sustainable design and restoring vitality to Missouri communities.
On July 17, 1981, Berkebile spent the night as part of the rescue team after the collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel, which killed 114 people and injured 216. Berkebile was the principal architect for the hotel.
Though it was determined that the catastrophe did not result from his design, the event caused Berkebile to reexamine the consequences of design decisions. He used the tragedy as the impetus to become one of the world's most conscientious architects and one of the founders of the "green building movement."
A 1961 graduate of the University of Kansas, he was selected as one of only 15 students to study under the famous architect Buckminster Fuller, an environmental activist who preached the importance of resource conservation.
Berkebile is the founding chairman of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. As chairman, he collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency, manufacturers and environmental groups to create the nationally acclaimed Environmental Resource Guide. He helped create the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard, which is recognized internationally as the standard for measuring building performance and sustainability.
He is the founding principal of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects (BNIM) in Kansas City, one of the country's leading environmental design firms. The firm has won national and international awards for its designs including the Missouri Department of Natural Resources headquarters in Jefferson City.
BNIM also designed the University of Missouri's Reynolds Alumni Center, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Building and the Harry S. Truman State Office Building. The firm assisted in the design for the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park Discovery Center in Columbia.
In 2005 and 2008, Berkebile received the USGBC's National Leadership Award and was named the No.1 environmental champion by EnvironDesign Journal. In 2007, he was awarded leadership awards from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Area Regional Council. In 2008, he was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Canadian Architects. Berkebile has been interviewed and profiled in numerous environmental and architectural publications.
He and his wife, Libby, have two grown children, Elli and Tyler.
John G. Bruton, honorary degree recipient
The Honorable John G. Bruton is the European Union Ambassador to the United States.
Born in Ireland in 1947, Bruton was the Irish Prime Minister from 1994-1997. First elected to the Irish Parliament in 1969 at age 22, Bruton became a party leader in 1990. In 1994, he was elected as prime minster of Ireland and transformed the nation's once-struggling economy into one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Bruton helped finalize the Stability and Growth Pact, which manages the single European currency, the euro. In 1996, Bruton addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress, making him only the 30th head of state of a European Union country to do so since 1945.
During his time as prime minister, Bruton played a critical role in building relationships between Irish universities and the University of Missouri. He helped establish student and faculty exchanges and a continuing series of externally funded research projects on agricultural policy and economics, rural and regional development, and community conflict resolution. Bruton also contributed to the development of the European Union Center at the University of Missouri.
In 1995, his second year as prime minister, Bruton served as the grand marshal of the St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Bruton was involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process that led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which resolved a conflict of allegiances that dated back to the 17th century.
He was a leading member of the convention that drafted the European Constitution that was signed on Oct. 29, 2004. At this convention, he worked to give the public a more direct say in determining EU leadership by allowing the public of the 27 EU member states to directly elect the President of the European Commission.
In 2004, Bruton was appointed a European Union ambassador. In this position, he meets with political leaders throughout the United States to discuss trade, counterterrorism, public health, energy, and the environment, the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights. Bruton has met with governors, mayors, business leaders and students in more than 20 U.S. states to explain how the expanding European Union can improve the U.S. economy and American jobs.
Bruton graduated from University College Dublin with a bachelor's of arts in economics and politics in 1968 before studying to become a barrister. He holds honorary degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National University of Ireland.
He and his wife, Finola, have four adult children.