UR’s first female Nobel laureate speaks at Sunday’s commencement

The main graduation ceremony for the University of Rochester takes place Sunday morning with the first female Nobel laureate from UR giving the commencement address.

Donna Strickland , Nobel laureate (Photo by Peter Lee, Waterloo Region Record)
Donna Strickland, Nobel laureate (Photo by Peter Lee, Waterloo Region Record)

Exercises for the colleges of arts, sciences and engineering begin at 9 a.m. on the grassy quad before the Rush Rhees Library overlooking the Genesee River. A crowd of more than 6,000, including 1,200 graduates, is expected at the ceremonies where physicist Donna Strickland will present the commencement address.

Strickland, who now teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for work she did while a doctorate candidate at the University of Rochester. The university will also present Strickland with the George Eastman Medal, recognizing outstanding achievement and dedicated service.

Other speakers at the ceremony include UR President Richard Feldman, board of trustees Chairman Rich Handler, and a member of the class of 2019.

Academic department ceremonies will continue later in the day.

The UR schools of medicine, dentistry and nursing are holding ceremonies on Friday. A ceremony for students earning doctorate degrees will be Saturday. The Eastman School of Music’s exercises are scheduled for later Sunday morning.

Additional information on all the graduation exercises at UR, including links for watching them on live stream, is available on its website.

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Local colleges announce homegrown graduation speakers

Three more local colleges have announced details of their commencement exercises; two will feature graduation speakers who are alumni.

Mauricio RIveros
Mauricio Riveros

Roberts Wesleyan College’s commencement will be May 11 in the college’s Voller Athletic Center at 2301 Westside Drive, North Chili. Ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. for master’s degree and non-traditional-age bachelor’s degree recipients. A 2:30 p.m. graduation ceremony will be for traditional undergraduates and students in the inclusive BELL program.

The speaker will be Mauricio F. Riveros, president of LECESSE Construction, and a member of the Roberts Wesleyan College board of trustees. Riveros holds graduate degrees in economic law and law from Bolivia.

A total of 418 students are expected to receive degrees or certificates at Roberts. Further details are available on the college’s website. 

Eastman School of Music will hold its graduation for bachelor’s and master’s degree students at 11:15 a.m. May 19 in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre. Doctoral candidates will receive their degrees the day before at 9 a.m. in the same location.

Julia Bullock
Julia Bullock

Soprano vocalist Julia Bullock, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Eastman in 2009, will speak at the May 19 ceremony. Bullock has performed with major opera companies and symphonies across the country and in Europe. She is serving as artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was recently named artist-in-residence for the San Francisco Symphony.

The ceremony will be live streamed.

Monroe Community College holds one of the latest college commencements of the season, with ceremonies beginning at 9:30 a.m. on June 1, in the Blue Cross Arena.

Tokeya C. Graham
Tokeya C. Graham

Tokeya C. Graham, associate professor of English and philosophy at MCC, will be the keynote speaker. Graham was a 20-year-old single mother of a young son when she started working on her associate’s degree in human services at MCC. She graduated in 1996 and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York College at Brockport and the University of Rochester. She also earned a diversity and inclusion certificate from Cornell University. And she’s now the mother of three MCC graduates.

The ceremony will see MCC degrees and certificates presented to some 2,100 students. The college will also live-stream the event on its websiteAdditional details are also online.

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