Convocation Ceremonies at The University of Texas at Austin Will Include Keynote Speakers from Diverse Backgrounds

May 8, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas—Speakers for convocation ceremonies at The University of Texas at Austin May 18 and 19 will include a national news correspondent, a former U.S. ambassador, a Texas state representative, an airline executive, a former mayor of Dallas, the provost of Texas A&M University and several distinguished academics.

Convocations hosted by the various colleges, schools and departments are the ceremonies in which undergraduates and graduate students are recognized individually. The convocations have unique honors and traditions and provide photo opportunities for families and friends to capture special moments, such as the hooding of doctor's and master's degree students or of deans shaking hands with graduates as they walk across the stage.

An estimated 7,440 students are candidates for graduation this spring semester, including 557 doctor's degree, 1,627 master's degree, 4,821 bachelor's degree and 436 law school students.

Graduating students will join together on the South Mall of the Main Building for the 124th Spring Commencement ceremony on May 19, which begins with a carillon prelude at 7 p.m. and ends with the traditional singing of "The Eyes of Texas." David M. Oshinsky, a 2006 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in the history category, will be the commencement speaker. He is the Jack S. Blanton, Sr. Chair in History and Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellow in the Department of History at The University of Texas at Austin.

Convocation speakers for individual ceremonies hosted by the various colleges, schools and departments will include: Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent and host of Face The Nation, CBS News; James C. Oberwetter, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Texas State Representative Roberto Alonzo, District 104 in Dallas; Gary C. Kelly, chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines; Ron Kirk, a partner with Vinson & Elkins LLP and a former mayor of Dallas; and Dr. David Prior, provost at Texas A&M University and vice chancellor for academic affairs-elect at The University of Texas System. William Powers Jr., the president, and Dr. Steven Leslie, the provost and executive vice president of The University of Texas at Austin, also will be among the speakers.

Listed below are the convocation locations for the colleges, schools and departments and names of the keynote speakers. Also listed are special spring ceremonies by other groups. More convocation information is available online.

Friday, May 18

  • 9 a.m. - McCombs School of Business undergraduate ceremony in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: Gary C. Kelly, chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines.
  • 9 a.m. - Department of Government, College of Liberal Arts, in Gregory Gymnasium. Speaker: Evan Smith, editor and executive vice president of Texas Monthly.
  • 9 a.m. - College of Pharmacy, in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Henri R. Manasse Jr., executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
  • 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. - The Great TEXAS EX-IT Open House at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, 2110 San Jacinto St.
  • Noon - College of Education in Gregory Gymnasium. Speaker: Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement and the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Community College Leadership at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Noon - College of Liberal Arts (all degree programs except English, government, history, Plan II and psychology) in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: Sheldon Ekland-Olson, the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts, and professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Noon - School of Nursing in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Charles E. Felger, M.D., senior physician in the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Austin Diagnostic Clinic, and director of the Executive Wellness Center, Heart Hospital of Austin.
  • 3 p.m. - College of Communication in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: James C. Oberwetter, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
  • 3 p.m. - Master of Business Administration, McCombs School of Business, in Gregory Gymnasium. Speaker: Gary C. Kelly, chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines.
  • 3 p.m. - College of Fine Arts in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Adair Margo, chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and founder of Adair Margo Gallery, El Paso.
  • 3 p.m. - A Celebration of Excellence: Honoring African American, Asian American, Mexican American/Hispanic and Native American Graduates in the Connally Banquet Hall, Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. Speaker: William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 3 p.m. - Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony in Bates Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Maj. Gen. Jeffery W Hammond, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), United States Army.
  • 6 p.m. - Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Nancy S. Footer, vice chancellor and general counsel of The University of North Texas System.
  • 6 p.m. - Professional Program in Accounting (PPA), Master in Professional Accounting (MPA), McCombs School of Business, in Gregory Gymnasium. Speaker: C. Kenneth Love, vice-chairman and president of Kimball Hill, Inc., and former senior partner at Deloitte & Touche, LLP.
  • 7 p.m. - College of Engineering in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: James H. Scott Sr., executive director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management and vice chair of the College of Engineering External Advisory Board.

Saturday, May 19

  • 8 a.m. - College of Natural Sciences (all majors except the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: William P. Hobby, chairman of Hobby Communications and former lieutenant governor of Texas.
  • 9 a.m. - Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts, in Gregory Gymnasium. Speaker: Arthur J. Rolnick, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • 9 a.m. - The Graduate School (master's degree candidates) in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Steven W. Leslie, executive vice president and provost at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 9 a.m. - Texas MBA, Texas Executive MBA and Texas Executive MBA at Mexico City, McCombs School of Business, in Bates Recital Hall. Speaker: Robert G. May, the KPMG Centennial Professor, Department of Accounting, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 9 a.m. - Plan II Honors Program, College of Liberal Arts, in Hogg Auditorium. Speakers: Parth Gejji, a senior in the Plan II Honors Program, and Austin Ligon, founder of CarMax, Inc., and a Plan II Honors graduate in 1973.
  • 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. - The Great TEXAS EX-IT Open House, Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, 2110 San Jacinto St.
  • Noon - School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Natural Sciences, in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: Theodore Votteler, M.D.
  • Noon - The Graduate School (doctor's degree candidates) in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 12:30 p.m. - Department of English, College of Liberal Arts, in Gregory Gymnasium, Speaker, Betty Sue Flowers, director of The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and a professor in the Department of English, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 1 p.m. - Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Bates Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speaker: Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent and host of Face The Nation, CBS News.
  • 2 p.m. - School of Information in Jessen Auditorium, Homer Rainey Hall. Speaker: Claudia Chidester, director of research for Austin Ventures and adjunct professor in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 3 p.m. - Center for Mexican American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, in University Teaching Center, Room 2.112A. Speaker: Roberto Alonzo, Texas State Representative, District 104.
  • 3 p.m. - Jackson School of Geosciences in the B. Iden Payne Theater, F. Lauren Winship Drama Building. Speaker: David B. Prior, executive vice president and provost at Texas A&M University and vice chancellor for academic affairs-elect at The University of Texas System.
  • 3 p.m. - School of Social Work in Bass Concert Hall, Performing Arts Center. Speakers: Rachel Ellen Mazerolle, a bachelor's degree candidate, and Kenlyn Marie Powers, a master's degree candidate.
  • 3:30 p.m. - School of Architecture in Hogg Auditorium. Speaker: Richard Swallow, the Paul Philippe Cret Centennial Teaching Fellow in Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 3:30 p.m. - School of Law in the Frank Erwin Center. Speaker: Ron Kirk, a partner, in Vinson & Elkins LLP, former mayor of Dallas and former Texas secretary of state.
  • 3:30 p.m. - Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, in Gregory Gymnasium. No speaker.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.