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Lafayette will grant 550 degrees to 539 graduating seniors at the College’s 167th Commencement, Saturday, May 25.

The event will feature an address by Jim Lehrer and will include the awarding of four honorary degrees. The processional will begin at 2:15 p.m. and the program at 2:30 p.m. Also scheduled for that day is a Baccalaureate service at 10:30 a.m. with an address by Margaret Farley, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School.

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

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf, Class of 1955, will award honorary doctorates to Lehrer (Doctor of Letters); Farley (Doctor of Divinity); and Robert A. Freedberg, Class of 1966, president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pa. (Doctor of Laws).

He will also confer an honorary bachelor of arts (A.B.) degree posthumously upon Aaron O. Hoff (1808-1902), a member of the Lafayette’s inaugural class in 1832 and its first African American student.

Alan R. Griffith, Class of 1964, chair of the board of trustees, will present the Lafayette Medal for Distinguished Service, the College’s highest honor, to former trustee Charles E. Hugel, Class of 1951. Hugel chaired the $213 million Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which concluded last October. He is the retired chairman of Asea Brown Boveri, Inc.

Vilas Menon, originally of Chandigarh, India, will deliver farewell remarks for the class of 2002. He is the recipient of the George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded to the senior who most closely represents the “Lafayette Ideal.”

The first students to receive their diplomas will be Daniel Connolly of Meadville, Pa., Menon, and Matthew Patton of Los Alamos, N.M., who tied for the highest cumulative grade-point average in the Class of 2002. Connolly will receive a bachelor of science (B.S.) in chemical engineering. Menon will receive a B.S. in chemical engineering and an A.B. with majors in International Studies and French. Patton will receive a B.S. in computer science.

A highlight of the ceremony will be the awarding of degrees to mother and daughter Christine Damiano and Julia Damiano of Easton. Christine, who has pursued her education at Lafayette on a part-time basis, will receive an A.B. in art. She works in Lafayette’s alumni affairs office. Christine earned departmental honors in art and received Lafayette’s Vivian B. Noblett Prize in Studio Art. She is member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, the honor society for part-time studies.

Julia, known as Jules, will receive an A.B. with two majors, history and art. She received the College’s Frederick Knecht Detwiller Prize in art. Jules is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.

Christine’s husband, Mark J. Damiano, is a 1974 Lafayette graduate. Mark’s father, Joseph N. Damiano, is a 1950 graduate. The legacy of the Damiano family at Lafayette is continuing with Marisa Damiano, Christine’s daughter and Jules’ sister, who just finished her sophomore year. Marisa is also majoring in art.

Cliff Michaels of Easton, chair of the Class of 2002 gift committee, will present the class gift.

Two retiring members of the faculty who have been elected to emeritus status will be recognized by Rothkopf, Pat Fisher, instructor in the Department of Athletics and former varsity women’s basketball coach, and Bill Lawson, instructor in athletics and varsity men’s lacrosse coach.

Rothkopf will confer degrees upon the graduates and will deliver farewell remarks. The degrees will be presented by Gladstone A. Hutchinson, the acting dean of studies, and James Woolley, the Smith Professor of English and clerk of the faculty.

B. Vincent Viscomi, Simon Cameron Long Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the senior member of the faculty, will lead the academic procession as Bearer of the Mace. James F. Krivoski, the dean of students, will marshal the Class of 2002. The class officers are Jenna Cece of Williamstown, Mass., president; Thomas Burns of Malvern, Pa., vice president; Alison Streim of Merion Station, Pa., secretary; and Tamara Bacsik of Little Falls, N.J., treasurer.

Provost June Schlueter will march at the head of the faculty. Former trustee Edward A. Jesser Jr., Class of 1939, will lead the trustees and the platform party.

Gary R. Miller, College chaplain, will deliver the invocation, and Farley will give the benediction. Nina Gilbert, Lafayette’s director of choral activities, will lead the singing of “America the Beautiful.” Members of the Lafayette Choir, led by Gilbert, will lead the singing of “The Alma Mater.”

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