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UAA to celebrate the Class of 2012 on Sunday, May 6


Tony Knowles, Barry Lopez, Al Parrish and Rosita Worl will receive honorary degrees; 2,172 students to graduate; first ever UAA-UAF joint Ph.D. degrees awarded


ANCHORAGE, AK – The University of Alaska Anchorage will celebrate the 2,172 graduates of the Class of 2012 at the annual Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. at the Sullivan Arena.

A special Graduate Degree Hooding Ceremony will honor graduate students receiving their hoods on Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on UAA’s campus.

Both ceremonies will feature UAA’s first ever two Ph.D. graduates. Last week UAA received approval from its regional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, to expand UAA’s status to include doctoral programs. As a result, UAA will jointly award (with UAF) its first Ph.D.s in Clinical-Community Psychology. Though this program has been jointly administered by both UAA and UAF since 2006, the degree had been solely awarded by UAF. 

Commencement is UAA’s capstone event celebrating the achievements of its students and the lifetime achievements of extraordinary faculty and community members. UAA will confer degrees on students from the following schools and colleges: Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Public Policy, Health, Education, the Community and Technical College and the School of Engineering. In all, UAA will confer 573 associate degrees; 1,192 bachelor’s degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates; 403 master’s degrees and graduate certificates; two Ph.D.s and 53 certificates. The 2,172 graduates* of the Class of 2012 will earn a total of 2,223 degrees or certificates.

This year’s student speaker is Kent Spiers. Since stepping foot on UAA’s campus, Kent has been involved with the International Student Association, UAA National Coalition Building Institute, UAA Sociology Club, The Family—the campus LGBT group—the Office of Sustainability and the Institute of Social and Economic Research, among other things. He says that UAA is a great place to begin advocating for the things you believe in or to serve the community. Through his experience at UAA, Kent has found that as a student, you can challenge the status quo and exceed your expectations for success and community engagement. Kent will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in environmental studies. Read more about Kent and his time at UAA here.

Four prominent leaders will be recognized for their many achievements and contributions in service to Alaska, to learning and to humankind: Anthony “Tony” Knowles, Honorary Doctor of Laws; Barry Lopez, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; Al Parrish, Honorary Doctor of Laws; and Rosita Worl, Honorary Doctor of Sciences.

Many years of outstanding service to the university and its students will be gratefully recognized with the conferring of emeriti status on nine members of UAA’s faculty: Christiane Brems, Professor of Psychology; Oliver Scott Goldsmith, Professor of Economics; Mark Johnson, Professor of Psychology; Frances Lautenberger, Professor of Theatre; Judith Moore, Professor of English; Morris (Greg) Parrish, Professor of Physics; Gail Renardson, Professor of English, Prince William Sound Community College; Donna Gail Shaw, Professor of Elementary Education; and Carl Shepro, Professor of Political Science.

UAA will also honor Dorothy “Dot” Helm, Pamela Miller, Mary Louise Rasmuson and George Wayne Skladal with Meritorious Service Awards at a reception on Saturday, May 5.

GCI will broadcast the Commencement Ceremony on cable Channel 1.

Please visit with Commencement website at www.uaa.alaska.edu/commencement for event details.

* A total of 2,172 students (Summer 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012) have applied to graduate and have either been awarded or are awaiting final audit of 2,223 degrees or certificates.

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