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Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2003

Lugar to address IU Bloomington graduates

Sen. Richard Lugar, the longest-serving U.S. senator in Indiana history, will be the commencement speaker for the 2003 graduating class at Indiana University Bloomington's Assembly Hall on May 10.

Lugar, first elected to the Senate in 1976, is the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee and a member and former chair of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. He is widely recognized by Republicans and Democrats alike for his expertise in foreign affairs and agricultural issues.

In 1991, Lugar and then-Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia built a bipartisan partnership with the goal of dismantling weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. Beginning in 2000, the two senators have been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in reducing the nuclear threat.

"In this time of turmoil in the Middle East and uncertainty in the world, we are honored that Sen. Lugar will join us in Bloomington to address our graduates. He is a stalwart state, national and international leader, and his comments will be pertinent to our students," said IU Interim President Gerald Bepko. "We have previously presented the senator with an honorary degree, and we are pleased he will return as an honorary alumnus for another important commencement message."

Lugar graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and from there went to Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar, where he received an honors degree in politics, philosophy and economics. To date, he has been awarded 35 honorary degrees.

The senator served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis, from 1968 to 1975, playing a pivotal role in consolidating the city and county governments into one entity.

As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee (1995-2001), he built bipartisan support for federal farm program reforms and passed the 1996 Farm Bill. During the 2002 Farm Bill debate, he was the leading proponent for restraining agriculture subsidies and administering farm programs more equitably within the American farm community.

Lugar will address both of the commencement sessions at Assembly Hall. The morning session will begin at 10 a.m. and will include graduates from the Kelley School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; the School of Law; the School of Music; and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The Ph.D. candidates in the same fields who are receiving degrees from the University Graduate School also will participate in the morning session.

The afternoon session will begin at 3 p.m. It will include graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Continuing Studies; the School of Informatics; the School of Journalism; the Division of Labor Studies; the School of Library and Information Science; and the School of Optometry. Ph.D. degree candidates in those fields who are receiving degrees from the University Graduate School and all master's degree candidates receiving degrees through the University Graduate School will participate in the afternoon session.