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Wilson to address graduates at Commencement

Wightman will speak at graduate ceremony Friday

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 29 - April 25, 1996

John Wilson, former Virginia Tech provost and past president of Washington & Lee University, will give the commencement address at Virginia Tech, Saturday, May 11, in Lane Stadium. The main undergraduate ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

Wilson served Virginia Tech as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost from 1975-1982 before joining the administration at Washington & Lee University as the 21st president. He retired from Washington & Lee in 1995 and now resides in Blacksburg.

He is an honor graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in history, as well as a Rhodes Scholar receiving the Honours B.A. in English literature from Oxford University (England) in 1955. He earned his doctoral degree in English literature from Michigan State University in 1965.

After receiving his Oxford degree, he served two years in the United States Air Force, then returned to his alma mater as assistant to the vice president for academic affairs. He then went on to serve as assistant to the president of the State University of New York. He returned to Michigan State when named associate director of the Honors College there and became director in 1965. Appointment as director of undergraduate education and assistant provost followed in 1967. From 1968 until he began his years at Virginia Tech in 1975, he served as president of Wells College, a private liberal arts college for women in Aurora, N.Y.

More than 4,000 students are expected to have their degrees conferred at the university's 124th commencement exercises. Following the main commencement ceremony, degree candidates will participate in their individual college ceremonies that will take place at various times across the university campus.

James Wightman, chemistry professor and Virginia Outstanding Scientist of the Year in 1994, will address the graduate students on Friday, May 10, in a ceremony in the Burruss Hall Auditorium beginning at 4:30 p.m. Wightman is recognized internationally for excellence in studies of the science of adhesion. He directed the Center for Adhesive and Sealant Science at Virginia Tech until 1993 and received the 1993 Adhesive and Sealant Council's award for his leadership in fostering the growth of that center, and for his contributions as a researcher, lecturer, and author in surface and adhesion phenomena. He received Virginia Tech's Wine Award for outstanding teaching in 1972 and the Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects in 1994. He has directed the degrees of four dozen graduate students.

Also, the Corps of Cadets Commissioning Ceremony and the ceremony for the College of Veterinary Medicine will take place on Friday, May 10. The Corps of Cadets ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium. The veterinary school ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires.

In the event of inclement weather, the Saturday undergraduate commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium will be moved to Cassell Coliseum. The location decision will be made by 7 a.m. on the day of the ceremony. If university flags are flying over Lane Stadium, then the ceremony will be held outside. If the flags are not flying, the ceremony will be inside.

Inclement weather information will be announced on radio stations WVTF (FM 89.1) and WUVT (FM 90.7). Information can also be retrieved by calling the university switchboard or by calling the inclement weather hotline at (540) 231-6668.

For further information concerning the location of the individual college departments' ceremonies, contact the respective department or call the University Registrar's office at (540) 231-5187.