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Last modified: Monday, April 26, 2004

Former first lady Judy O'Bannon to address IUB graduates

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former Indiana first lady Judy O'Bannon will address the 2004 graduating class at Indiana University Bloomington's Assembly Hall on May 8.

An Indiana University graduate with a degree in social work, O'Bannon also will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during commencement ceremonies. It was at IU that O'Bannon met her husband, the late Gov. Frank O'Bannon, and the two spent the next 45 plus years as public servants. She also was the first woman to attend the Louisville Theological Seminary as a Rockefeller Theological Scholar.

"Judy O'Bannon's lifetime of service to the people of Indiana is characterized by personal integrity, compassion, faith in humanity and an unswerving dedication to the public good," said IU President Adam W. Herbert. " These are the same character qualities we seek to instill in every Indiana University student. We are both honored and proud that Mrs. O'Bannon will return to the Bloomington campus as a powerful role model for our graduates and a symbol of the Hoosier values we cherish."

O'Bannon is the chair of the 25-member Indiana 2016 Task Force, the group planning the state's bicentennial celebration. The task force is developing and supporting local and statewide efforts, focusing on education, the environment, early childhood development, arts and culture, technology and community development, with an eye toward increasing community involvement.

The former first lady is well known not only for her many volunteer efforts but also for promoting volunteerism. She and her late husband formed the O'Bannon Book Buddy initiative, which encourages adults to help children read. She has led People-to-People Ambassador delegations to South Africa and Russia, and she has hosted a public television series, Communities Building Community with Judy O'Bannon, for WFYI Television in Indianapolis.

O'Bannon also is a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is the secretary of the executive board of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and the Indiana Main Street Council.

She 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; the School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and the School of Social Work. The Ph.D. degree 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 from the University Graduate School will participate in the afternoon session.