The University of Arizona

ABC's Woodruff to Speak at UA Commencement

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, March 30, 2010

Bob Woodruff, ABC reporter, author and head injury advocate, will speak during the undergraduate ceremony and beloved Dean Emeritus Toni Massaro will speak during the graduate commencement ceremony.

Bob Woodruff and wife Lee together with their children.
Bob Woodruff and wife Lee together with their children.
Dean Emeritus Toni Massaro
Dean Emeritus Toni Massaro

The University of Arizona's 142th commencement will be celebrated during two ceremonies at the McKale Memorial Center in May. The ceremony for graduate students will be held on Friday, May 14, and the ceremony for undergraduate students will be held on Saturday, May 15.

Speaker Information

ABC reporter Bob Woodruff, who suffered head injuries from a roadside bomb during an attack while embedded with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division in Iraq, will be the undergraduate commencement speaker.

Dean Emeritus Toni Massaro of the UA's James E. Rogers School of Law will be the graduate commencement speaker.

Woodruff joined ABC News in 1996 and was named co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" in December 2005. He was covering the Iraq War when, on Jan. 29, 2006, a roadside bomb struck his vehicle. Since his recovery, Woodruff has reported on stories throughout the world and covers major stories and events in the U.S. 

Woodruff is not new to the UA campus. He and his wife, Lee, visited in December 2008 to sign copies of their joint memoir, "In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing," and promoted the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation.  

The Woodruffs created the foundation to aid those injured in service during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to draw focus on injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. A portion of the book's sales are used to provide financial support for medical and personal expenses for soldiers and their families.

Both Bob and Lee Woodruff will be honored with honorary degrees during the spring ceremony, though Lee will not be able to personally attend.

Massaro, a UA Regents' Professor, was the first woman to be named dean of the Rogers College of Law, a position she held for 10 years.

As dean she helped grow the school's reputation for academic excellence. Law students improved in academic and professional performance, and numerous outreach and service-oriented programs were introduced.

Massaro also focused on fundraising efforts and attracting notable legal scholars and judges to campus – including former U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi – to teach at the college while helping to broaden the expertise among the faculty.

Massaro returned to the college faculty after stepping down as dean.

Graduate Ceremony Information

The graduate ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. on May 14 and graduate student instructions can be found at the Dean of Students Commencement Web site.

Honorary degrees will be conferred during the ceremony to Fred Boice, Charles Vest and Richard Williams.

Boice will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree in recognition of his tireless promotion to advance higher education. Boice, who was nominated by all UA deans, is the head of Boice Financial Company has been a long-standing supporter of the University's diverse activities.

Richard Williams will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from the UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Williams is a world-renowned architect and educator who has donated time, money and talent to the UA and to redevelopment projects in Tucson and Southern Arizona.  

Charles Vest will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree from the UA College of Optical Sciences. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Candidates for master's, specialist and doctoral degrees will be honored during the Friday night ceremony, which will also include recognition of honorary degrees, alumni achievement awards and graduate student awards. Graduate students from all colleges are invited to participate.

Undergraduate Ceremony Information

The ceremony for undergraduate bachelor's degree candidates, their friends and family will begin at 8 a.m. on May 15. Procession and assembly instructions for undergraduate candidates for bachelor's degrees can be found at the Commencement Web site.

This ceremony will include recognition of undergraduate student awards and the presentation of all undergraduates by college.

During the undergraduate ceremony Bob Woodruff will be honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters from the UA College of Humanities. Lee Woodruff will be honored in absentia with a Doctor of Humane Letters from the UA College of Humanities.

Contacts

Rebecca Ruiz McGill

520-621-1878

rrmcgill@u.arizona.edu