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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 20, 2006

ISU to award two honorary degrees at summer commencement

by Anne Krapfl

An estimated 883 graduating students will be honored during a single commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 5, at Hilton Coliseum. It begins at 9:30 a.m.; tickets are not needed.

An estimated 103 Ph.D. candidates will receive degrees next month, according to the registrar's office. An estimated 227 students will receive master's degrees, and 553 students are on schedule to complete their bachelor's degree programs.

Honorary degrees

Iowa State also will confer two honorary degrees during the ceremony, to Penn State University president Graham Spanier and Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, an Indian agricultural scientist and chairman of a research foundation carrying his name.

Spanier, who received bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology from Iowa State, has served as president at Penn State since 1995. He is a national leader in higher education and currently chairs the National Security Higher Education advisory board. He is a past chair of the board of directors for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the NCAA Division I board of directors and the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors. He also is a students' president, serving periodically as the Nittany Lion mascot, advising the magicians club and performing with the musical theater students, the Blue Band, the glee club and the chamber orchestra.

Swaminathan is the chief architect of the 1960s "green revolution" that helped India produce enough to meet its own food needs. Swaminathan was instrumental in developing rice and wheat varieties that yielded more grain, increasing food supplies for billions of people around the world. TIME magazine placed him among its "20 most influential Asians of the 20th century."

The recipient of the first World Food Prize (1987), he was a plenary speaker at the first International Crop Science Congress (1992), hosted by Iowa State, and since then has taken an interest in the university's programs in agriculture and food. He has hosted ISU students and faculty members at his research foundation in Chennai, India. He delivered the first Norman Borlaug Lecture at ISU in 2003.

Swaminathan will speak briefly; Spanier will give the commencement address.

There are no college ceremonies or receptions prior to summer commencement.


A single summer commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, in Hilton Coliseum.