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Girl Scouts CEO to Address UA Grads During 150th Commencement
The UA will hold its 150th commencement ceremony on May 17.
Thousands of soon-to-be alums and their families and friends will gather for the University of Arizona's 150th Commencement, where the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA will address undergraduate and graduate students set to receive more than 7,500 degrees.
The May 17 ceremony will again be held at Arizona Stadium.
University officials said Monday that, judging from the number of RSVPs already received, the crowd will be big.
"Not in the history of the University have we seen these numbers," Mary Venezia, assistant director of strategic initiatives for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said of the number of guests planning to attend.
The excitement around Commencement reached new heights last year when the University moved the ceremony from McKale Memorial Center to the stadium. The event was full of surprises for the grads and their families and friends, who were treated to a light show that made national headlines. This year, some graduates are planning to bring dozens of guests, which has led to the uptick in RSVPs, Venezia said.
"Students and their families are so excited to celebrate and be part of the ceremony," Venezia said, "and more people are bringing more family and friends."
UA President Ann Weaver Hart will confer degrees upon the 2014 graduating class, including summer graduates. Expected at the ceremony are 6,000 bachelor's degrees, 920 master's/specialist degrees and 220 doctorates. In addition, 138 juris doctorate degrees will be conferred along with 170 medical degrees and 100 doctors of pharmacy.
The keynote address will be delivered by UA alumna Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
A native of Eloy, Ariz., Chávez herself was a Girl Scout. She earned her law degree from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the UA in 1994 after receiving a bachelor's degree in American history from Yale University.
Before assuming leadership of the Girl Scouts, Chávez held numerous posts under U.S. President Bill Clinton, including serving as senior policy adviser to former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater. She later returned Arizona to serve as deputy chief of staff for urban relations and community development under then-Gov. Janet Napolitano. In that role, she promoted the governor's policies, programs and initiatives in partnership with city, county and tribal governments, as well as federal agencies and community organizations.
Chávez returned to the Girl Scouts in 2009, serving as chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. She was appointed to her current position in 2011 and has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2013 Excellence in Community Service award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and recognition as one of the 100 Women Leaders in STEM by STEM connector.
During the ceremony, UA Honors College students will earn senior awards. They are: Emily Huang, who is studying business administration, mathematics and finance, and Kurt Mohty, who is studying physiology and mathematics, both recipients of the Robert Logan Nugent Award; biochemistry major Jonathan Yamaguchi and Rinku Skaria, who studied physiology and business management, who will receive the Merrill P. Freeman Medals; and Rae Anne Martinez, a molecular and cellular biology major, who has earned the Robie Gold Medal Award. Erica Bee, who transferred from Pima Community College to the UA to study communication and marketing, will be honored as the recipient of the inaugural Provost Award.
The University also will announce the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.
And Chávez will receive an honorary degree along with five other recipients: UA alumnus Fletcher McCusker, chief executive officer of the Sinfonía HealthCare Corporation; UA alumnus and three time Tony Award-winning scenic designer Scott Pask; Grammy Award winning classical guitarist, David Russell; UA alumnus Terrence Valeski, vice chairman of T-Mobile in the Czech Republic; and Malcolm H. Wiener, a world-renowned historian and archaeologist.