Denison's 163rd Commencement Exercises Set for May 16; Michael H. Armacost to Deliver Commencement Address
Posted: May 3, 2004
GRANVILLE -- Denison University will hold its 163rd commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday (May 16) on the Fine Arts Quadrangle on the college's lower campus. Some 510 graduating seniors will be awarded bachelor degrees at the ceremonies which also will celebrate the accomplishments of three honorary degree recipients. Michael H. Armacost, an internationally recognized scholar and leader in the formulation of U.S. policy in East Asia who will give the commencement address titled "Gratuitous Advice," will receive an honorary doctor of laws; Pam Houston '83, a critically acclaimed author, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters; and John Meyer '67, president and CEO of Harvard Management Co. Inc., will receive an honorary doctor of social sciences. Also recognized at the ceremonies will be three long-time faculty members who are retiring -- Jon Farris, department of theatre; Joan Novak, department of religion; and Elliott Stout, department of cinema. The Senior Class Address will be delivered by Erin Copple '04, a communication major and President's Medalist. Her speech is titled "Hallmarks of the Denison Experience."
During the weekend, graduates and their families also will attend Baccalaureate Services at 1:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Saturday in Swasey Chapel with the President's Reception from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the lawn next to Swasey Chapel. From 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, a Faculty Coffee on the Academic Quad will give graduates an opportunity to introduce their families and their professors to one another. One of the most treasured of Denison's traditions, the coffee is a moment of calm before the ceremony when graduates may have a farewell visit with the men and women who have been so central to their Denison education. If weather conditions warrant, ceremonies will be moved to the Mitchell Recreation and Athletics Center. The decision is made at 6 a.m. and signaled by flying the Denison flag on the pole in front of Slayter Hall if ceremonies are to be outside.
Armacost has been a Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow in the Asia/Pacific Research Center, Institute of International Studies of Stanford University since 2002. He was also at the Center from 1993 to 1995 as a Distinguished Senior Fellow and visiting professor. Armacost served as president of the Brookings Institution, the nation's oldest think tank, in Washington, D.C., from 1995 until 2002, and was a leader in research on politics, government, international affairs, economics and public policy.
During a distinguished 24-year career in government, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1984-1989). As Ambassador to the Philippines under President Ronald Reagan (1982-1984), he was a key force in helping that country undergo a nonviolent transition to democracy. In 1989, President George H. Bush appointed him Ambassador to Japan, a post that was considered one of the most important and sensitive U.S. diplomatic assignments abroad. He served in that capacity until 1993. He also held senior policy responsibilities in the National Security Council and Department of Defense.
A native of Ohio, Armacost was educated at Carleton College, Friedrich Wilhelms University and Columbia University where he earned a master's degree and doctorate in public law and government. Armacost has taught and lectured at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and International Christian University. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which,Friends or Rivals?, was published in 1996 and draws on his experience as Ambassador to Japan. Among his publications by the Stanford Institute for International Studies areAddressing the North Korea Nuclear Challenge(2003) andA United States Policy for the Changing Realities of East Asia: Toward a New Consensus(1996).
He was the recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award (1987 and 1989), The Defense Department's Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1980) and the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award (1988) in recognition of his contributions as a specialist in East Asian affairs.
Houston, a 1983summa cum laudegraduate of Denison, is the author ofCowboys Are My Weakness(W.W. Norton, 1992), that was the winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award and has been translated into nine languages. She also has writtenWaltzing the Cat(W.W. Norton, 1998) that won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction, and her first novel,Sighthound,completed in 2003, as well as a collection of autobiographical essays,A Little More About Me(W.W. Norton, 1999) and a collaboratively written historical book,Tomboy Bride: A Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West(1997).
Houston, who earned a master's degree from the University of Utah, is currently director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. She also teaches at summer writers' conferences and festivals in the United States and abroad and occasionally appears on CBS-TV Sunday Morning doing literary essays on the wilderness.
Meyer, a 1967 graduate of Denison and native of Columbus, has served for the past 13 and one-half years as head of the Harvard University Management Co. Inc., a non-profit subsidiary of the university that manages its endowment portfolio. During that period he has grown the endowment from $5.1 billion in September 1990 to nearly $19.3 billion at the end of June 2003, giving Harvard the largest endowment of any university in the United States.
Meyer earned an M.B.A. degree from Harvard in 1969 and went on to serve as a security analyst and investment officer with Brown Brothers Harriman, a private bank in New York City. Meyer also has been associated with Lionel D. Edie, an investment counseling firm in New York City; served as deputy controller of New York City, managing the city's pension funds, sinking funds and treasury funds; and was named treasurer and chief investment officer of the Rockefeller Foundation, responsible for the management of the Foundation's endowment of about $2.1 billion.
The Harvard endowment provides long-term fiscal stability for student financial aid, the faculty and academic programs. With a staff of 120, HMC manages Harvard's endowment assets, pension funds and the charitable trusts and pooled income funds generated by planned gifts. With a 12.5 percent return on its investments for fiscal 2003, Harvard's gain was not only one of the highest among colleges, but also among large financial funds generally.
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