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Lafayette College will grant 471 degrees to 465 graduating seniors Saturday, May 22, at the College's 164th Commencement.

The event will feature an address by Maya Angelou, the world-renowned author, educator, producer, director, actress, and civil-rights activist, and will include the awarding of three honorary degrees. The processional will begin at 2:15 p.m. and the program at 2:30 p.m. Also scheduled is a Baccalaureate service at 10:30 a.m. with a sermon by William H. Willimon, dean of the Chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke University.

The ceremonies will be held outdoors on the Skillman Library Plaza. The alternate location in case of rain is Allan P. Kirby Field House.

Receiving honorary degrees will be Angelou (Doctor of Letters), Willimon (Doctor of Divinity), and Lucy Wilson Benson, vice chair of the Lafayette board of trustees and president of Benson & Associates, Amherst, Mass., consultants to business and government (Doctor of Laws).

Trustee Emeritus Edward A. Jesser Jr., Class of 1939, will be presented the College's highest honor, the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service, by President Arthur J. Rothkopf. Jesser is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Summit Bank.

Renaldo A. Trancoso of Brooklyn, N.Y., recipient of the George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded to the senior who most closely represents the “Lafayette Ideal,” will deliver farewell remarks for the class of 1999.

Three retiring faculty members who have been elected to emeritus status will be recognized by Rothkopf. They are Jean-Pierre Cap, Oliver Edwin Williams Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures; William A. Jeffers Jr., professor of physics; and Terence J. McGhee, Charles A. Dana Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

William C. Cassebaum, Class of 1953, a retiring trustee who has been elected to emeritus status, will be recognized by Lawrence J. Ramer, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Gerrit Nieuwenhuizen of Lakehurst, N.J., and Kairn Mary Gebauer of Maplewood, N.J., the co-chairs of the Class of 1999 gift committee, will present the class gift.

Rothkopf; Christopher W. Gray, dean of studies; and James Woolley, Smith Professor of English and clerk of the faculty, will confer the degrees upon the graduates, one of whom, Shayne Leslie Figueroa of Charleston, S.C., is graduating exactly a century after her great-grandfather, Willard Paff, Class of 1899, earned a Lafayette degree. Figueroa's father, Edward S. Paff, is a 1942 Lafayette graduate and her brother, Carter Figueroa, is a member of the Class of 2002.

Joseph A. Sherma, the Larkin Professor of Chemistry and the senior member of the faculty, will lead the procession as Bearer of the Mace. Herman C. Kissiah, dean of students, will marshal the Class of 1999. Provost June Schlueter will march at the head of the faculty. Jesser will lead the trustees and the platform party.

Gary R. Miller, College chaplain, will deliver the invocation, and Willimon will give the benediction. Donna M. DiGregorio '99 of East Stroudsburg, Pa., will lead the singing of “America the Beautiful.” The Lafayette Madrigal Singers, directed by William J. Nayden, Class of 1978, will lead the singing of the “Alma Mater.”

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