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Susan Williams
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 commencement season to begin for Indiana University

April 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will preside over 2011 commencement ceremonies on eight campuses this spring where 18,499 students will be eligible to receive IU degrees. Additionally, 2,026 Purdue University degrees will be awarded on those IU campuses with Purdue programs, mostly in separate ceremonies.

IU Bloomington will award 8,562 degrees as it celebrates its 182nd commencement in three ceremonies, one for graduate students and two for undergraduates. A graduate ceremony is scheduled for May 6 (Friday) at 3 p.m. in Assembly Hall. Undergraduate ceremonies will take place May 7 (Saturday), also in Assembly Hall, with the morning session starting at 10 a.m. and the afternoon session beginning at 3 p.m. The processions of graduates begin 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start times.

Commencement speakers at IU Bloomington are Patricia R. Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley Designs and former Indiana Secretary of Commerce, who will address both sessions of undergraduate students, and William G. Bowen, former president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and of Princeton University, who will speak at the ceremony for graduate students.

Patricia R. Miller

Patricia R. Miller

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Upon graduating from IU Bloomington with a bachelor's degree in business education, Patricia R. Miller began a teaching career in Indiana, unaware that her business acumen and fashion sense would take her far beyond the classroom. She and fellow Fort Wayne resident Barbara Bradley Baekgaard started Vera Bradley with an investment of $250 each. Today, their company is an internationally recognized brand with net revenues of more than $300 million a year. The company's stock is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under VRA. Chances are you've seen their handbags, travel bags and accessories on top-rated television programs such as Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, Entourage and Modern Family, as well as in more than 20 feature films. More than 3,300 specialty stores and 42 Vera Bradley company stores sell their products -- which now also include travel bags, handbags, accessories, paper and gift items.

Miller served as Vera Bradley's co-president until recently; she now serves as Vera Bradley's national spokesperson and company director. In 2005-06, she took a leave of absence from the company to serve as Indiana's first Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. at the request of Gov. Mitch Daniels.

William Bowen

Photo by David Lubarsky

William Bowen

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As president of both the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1988-2006) and Princeton University (1972-1988), William G. Bowen has had a unique vantage point from which to study questions central to higher education, including the role of doctoral studies, affirmative action, sports and information technology. Since stepping down as president of the Mellon Foundation in 2006, he has continued to be involved in the national discussion on these questions and has written the latest of his more than 20 books, Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Bowen's tenure at the Mellon Foundation was marked by increases in the scale of its activities, with annual appropriations reaching $220 million in 2000. To ensure that Mellon's grant-making activities would be better informed and more effective while also following his interest in issues central to higher education and philanthropy, he created an in-house research program to investigate doctoral education, college admissions, independent research libraries and charitable nonprofits.

For more information on Miller and Bowen, go here.

IU Bloomington instituted the practice of selecting graduating seniors to speak at commencement in 2010. Shabrelle Pollock, from Jeffersonville, Ind., and Andrew Merki, from La Plata, Md., were selected from a number of applicants to deliver this year's student addresses.

2011 Commencement Student Speakers

Andrew Merki, La Plata, Md., and Shabrelle Pollock, Jeffersonville, Ind., will address fellow Indiana University graduates at 2011 undergraduate commencement ceremonies in Bloomington on May 7.

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Pollock, who will receive her B.A. in journalism with a minor in marketing, will speak at the afternoon ceremony. From Jeffersonville, Ind., she is an Ernie Pyle Scholar in the School of Journalism Honors Program, a Jesse and Beulah Cox Scholar and a Hudson-Holland Scholar. Born in Mississippi, she credits her IU education with expanding her horizons and broadening her world view, enabling her to travel to London, Paris and Tokyo while taking classes in a wide range of subjects.

Merki will speak at the morning commencement, where he will receive a B.S. in business with concentrations in economic consulting and public policy analysis. He is a student in the Mitte Business Honors Program in the Kelley School of Business. With interests ranging from entrepreneurship and consumer issues to hunger and homelessness, he believes that IU is an institution where students can achieve unlimited success.

Find more information on this year's IU Bloomington student commencement speakers here.

Indiana University commencement information:

Indiana University Southeast, May 9 (Monday), 4 p.m., at the Ogle Center Amphitheater. In case of rain, two ceremonies, one at noon and the second at 4 p.m., will take place in the IU Southeast Activities Building. Degrees will be awarded to 1,151 students, 1,104 from Indiana University and 47 from Purdue University.

IU Kokomo, May 10 (Tuesday), 10:30 a.m., to the east of Virgil and Elizabeth Hunt Hall. In case of rain, two ceremonies will be held in Havens Auditorium, one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 1:30 p.m. Degrees will be awarded to 565 students, 502 from IU and 63 from Purdue.

IU South Bend, May 10 (Tuesday), 6 p.m., in the Joyce Center at the University of Notre Dame. Degrees will be awarded to 1,103 students, 1,055 from IU and 48 from Purdue.

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, May 11 (Wednesday), at 7 p.m., in Fort Wayne's Memorial Coliseum. Degrees will be awarded to 1,889 students, 1,107 from IU and 782 from Purdue.

IU Northwest, May 12 (Thursday), at 4 p.m. (CDT), at the Genesis Center in Gary. IU degrees will be awarded to 821 students.

IU East, May 13 (Friday), at 6 p.m., at the Tiernan Center at Richmond High School. Degrees will be awarded to 423 students, 396 from IU and 27 from Purdue.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, May 15 (Sunday), 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Halls A-B-C of the Indianapolis Convention Center. Degrees will be awarded to 6,011 students. IU degrees will be conferred upon 4,760 graduates and Purdue degrees will go to 1,015 graduates. The overall total also includes 236 IUPUI Columbus graduates, with 192 receiving IU degrees and 44 receiving Purdue degrees.

For Bloomington, the number of graduates include degree candidates from May, June and August, and graduate students whose degrees have been or will be awarded on a monthly basis from January 2011 to July 2011. While December commencement figures for Bloomington cannot be included in the May counts, it should be noted that 2,170 students were eligible to participate in that 2010 ceremony.

For other campuses, the figures include degree recipients from December 2010 and candidates for May, June and August 2011. Those numbers also include graduate students whose degrees have been or will be conferred during the 2010-2011 academic year.