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Susan Williams
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009

IU Bloomington to celebrate winter commencement

2,113 students eligible to participate in winter ceremony; U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to speak

Dec. 10, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington will celebrate its 180th Commencement on Dec. 19 (Saturday) in a 10 a.m. ceremony in Assembly Hall. The procession of students will begin at 9:15 a.m. The Honorable Robert M. Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, will deliver the commencement address.

Gates image

The Honorable Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense

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Secretary of Defense Gates was sworn in to his position in 2006 by President George W. Bush and is the only defense secretary in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president (President Barack Obama). His preparation for public service included graduate study at Indiana University, where he earned a master's degree in history in 1966.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie will preside over the commencement ceremony in which 2,113 students are eligible to participate. This number includes undergraduates as well as graduate students whose degrees were awarded during September and October, and those who are candidates for November and December degrees.

Following Secretary Gates' address, McRobbie will confer upon him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

The formal induction of the new graduates into the IU Alumni Association will come next with graduating senior Christina Gephart representing her class during the induction. IU Trustee Vice President Patrick A. Shoulders will represent the university, and Donna L. Spears will represent the IU Alumni Association.

McRobbie will deliver a charge to the class, and then he will confer degrees with assistance from IU Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson and the deans of the individual schools.

Rabbi Susan Laikin Shifron, executive director of the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, will offer the invocation following the processional, which will be performed by the Indiana University Commencement Ensemble under the direction of Scott A. Jones, doctoral student in the IU Jacobs School of Music. The ensemble also will provide music for the recessional. Jacobs School Dean Gwyn Richards will lead the audience, the graduating students and the platform party in singing The Star Spangled Banner and, later, Hail to Old IU.

For a biography on U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, go to: .