UO to celebrate commencement of 5,015 graduates on June 18

EUGENE, Ore. – (June 7, 2012) – The University of Oregon has announced that 5,015 graduates will receive a total of 5,233 degrees when their commencement is celebrated in exercises June 18 at Matthew Knight Arena.

Graduates are encouraged to celebrate along with their families and members of the community in a day filled with activities throughout campus. The commencement ceremony itself will follow the Duck Walk – an academic parade of graduates and faculty/staff in regalia – which will begin at 8:45 a.m. near Johnson Hall and proceed along 13th Avenue to the arena.

The graduation celebration will feature a keynote speech from Jefferson Smith, a UO alumnus and state representative from Portland who founded the nonprofit Bus Project, which is dedicated to engaging young people in politics. Smith is in a November runoff election for Portland mayor.

The UO’s oldest-ever graduate – Virginia Beavert, an elder in Washington’s Yakama tribe – will also be recognized during the graduation ceremony. Beavert, who is 90, will receive her doctorate in linguistics before defending her dissertation next month. She speaks six native languages, has written a Yakama Sahaptin dictionary and is currently working on a second edition.

Beavert will be among 1,075 students who will receive graduate degrees, while another 3,940 will receive bachelor’s degrees. The new graduates come from a total of 61 countries and 47 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, with by far the largest number – 2,895 – being Oregon residents.

This year’s high number of graduates is due in part to the unusually large freshman class that was admitted in the fall of 2008, and is reflective of three straight years of record enrollment at the UO.

Interim UO President Robert Berdahl will preside over the graduation ceremony, which will showcase student achievements over the past four years and remind students of experiences they have shared. The event in Matthew Knight Arena will be followed by the individual ceremonies of UO schools, colleges and departments at either noon or 3 p.m., in various locations on campus. A full list of the individual ceremonies is available online at http://bit.ly/MqIg6I.

No tickets will be required at any of the 2012 graduation ceremonies, and graduates may invite as many guests as they choose.

Between ceremonies, graduates and their guests may visit ongoing Grad Fest events on 13th Avenue, in front of Matthew Knight Arena. Grad Fest will include food vendors, dining areas, a photo booth, DuckStore, student performances and other activities throughout the day. UO museums and academic buildings will also be open for public visits.

Campus is expected to be busy with activities, and parking may be challenging. Free shuttles will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. between the Autzen Stadium parking lot and a load/unload spot at 13th Avenue and Agate Street. Faculty and staff are being encouraged to use the service, as well. A link to a commencement map is available on the UO spring commencement website, at http://bit.ly/JQGThd.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT:Joe Mosley, UO media relations, 541-346-3606, jmosley@uoregon.edu

SOURCE:David McCandless, interim assistant director, UO Family Programs and Commencement, 541-346-1148, davidm@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.