It’s the most wonderful time of the year

No more all-nighters. No more Thurtene Carnival. No more homecoming weekend festivities. At least, not as students.

The world awaits.

The May 18 Commencement celebrates 2,622 graduates. The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. in Brookings Quadrangle.
The May 18 Commencement celebrates 2,622 graduates. The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. in Brookings Quadrangle.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will confer degrees at the 146th Commencement ceremony, which begins at 8:30 a.m. May 18 in Brookings Quadrangle. The 2,622 candidates will receive 2,735 degrees, of which 1,467 are undergraduate and 1,268 are graduate and professional.

There are 558 doctoral candidates, comprising 108 for the doctor of philosophy degree from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, two for the doctor of science degree from the Graduate School of Engineering & Applied Science, 242 for the juris doctoris degree from the School of Law, two for the juris scientiae doctoris from the School of Law and 204 for degrees from the School of Medicine.

In the event of rain, Commencement still will take place in the Quad. If the weather turns violent, the ceremony for undergraduates will be moved to the Athletic Complex, and graduate and professional degrees will be bestowed at each respective school’s Commencement reception.

Streaming video of theceremony will be broadcast online at The Webcast can be viewed in Room 110 of January Hall and in Rooms 100 (wheelchair accessible) and 118 of Brown Hall.

Tim Russert, managing editor and moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press” and political analyst for “NBC Nightly News” and the “Today” show, will deliver the Commencement address. The title of Russert’s speech is “A View From Washington.”

Russert also anchors “The Tim Russert Show,” a weekly interview program on CNBC, acts as a contributing anchor for MSNBC and is senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC News. He will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters during the ceremony.

Russert, who joined NBC News in 1984, is no stranger to the campus. He covered the three presidential debates WUSTL has hosted since 1992.

Russert has interviewed every major figure on the American political scene, including President George W. Bush in a rare hour-long interview on “Meet the Press,” as well as numerous other world leaders and newsmakers.

In 2005, he received an Emmy for his role in President Reagan’s funeral coverage. He won the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association’s highest honor, the Joan S. Barone Award, as well as the Annenberg Center’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for his 2000 election interviews with Bush and Al Gore on “Meet the Press.”

Russert received a 2001 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television Journalism for his March 2000 interview with Sen. John McCain.

He is the author of two New York Times No. 1 best-sellers: “Big Russ & Me, Father and Son: Lessons of Life” (2004) and “Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons” (2006).

Russert, who was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, is a trustee of the Freedom Forum’s Newseum and on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth.

Beaumont Pavilion in Brookings Quadrangle is the site of the annual Commencement ceremonies. More than 2,600 graduates and some 12,000 guests will be on hand.
Beaumont Pavilion in Brookings Quadrangle is the site of the annual Commencement ceremonies. More than 2,600 graduates and some 12,000 guests will be on hand.

Also at Commencement, honorary degrees will be awarded to:

• David C. Farrell, former chairman and CEO of the May Department Stores Co., doctor of science

• Henry Givens Jr., Ph.D., president of St. Louis’ Harris-Stowe State University, doctor of humanities

• Paul Harvey, ABC News broadcaster, doctor of journalism

• William S. Sly, M.D., the Alice A. Doisy Professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the James B. and Joan C. Peter Endowed Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University, doctor of science

• Shirley M. Tilghman, Ph.D., president of Princeton University, doctor of science

Commencement will begin with the traditional academic procession into the Quad, which will be led by honorary grand marshal Morton E. Smith, M.D., professor emeritus of ophthalmology & visual sciences and associate dean emeritus.

Smith is an ophthalmic pathologist, a subspecialty of ophthalmology and pathology that focuses on diseases of the eye and neighboring tissues. He is a teacher, leader and friend to countless medical school students and graduates. He continues to mentor residents when they see patients in the clinic and teams with other faculty to plan the best treatment for cancer patients whose disease may affect their eyes.

An internationally recognized clinician and gifted educator with infectious enthusiasm for ophthalmology, Smith’s students have honored him with nearly a dozen teaching awards. The University awarded him the Founders Day Distinguished Faculty Award for excellence in teaching in 1976.

In addition, he was recognized by the University with a Distinguished Service Award in 1999, which honors high quality of instruction, strong relationships with students inside and outside the classroom, reputation for scholarship and distinguished service. He also received two Distinguished Service Teaching Awards and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Washington University Eye Alumni.

The Baltimore native earned a bachelor’s degree in 1956 and a medical degree in 1960, both from the University of Maryland.

Smith was named assistant professor of ophthalmology and pathology in 1967, then was promoted to full professor in 1975. During a nearly 30-year period, he not only taught and mentored students, but also was on the attending staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals and the John Cochran Division of the St. Louis VA Medical Center.

Smith added an administrator’s hat in 1978 when he was named assistant dean of the School of Medicine. He was promoted to associate dean of continuing medical education and postgraduate education and received emeritus status in 1996.

Smith was chairman of the steering committee that founded the American Association of Ophthalmic Pathologists in 1976. He is a charter member who served as the organization’s president and on its board of directors. He was a director of the American Board of Ophthalmology from 1992-99.

Smith and his wife, Paula, an artist, have three children, Jill Smith of Minneapolis; Erica Nicholson of Boulder, Colo.; Brian of St. Louis, an artist who has a piece displayed at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center; and two grandchildren.

Also at Commencement, approximately 125 alumni from the Class of 1957, celebrating their 50th reunion, will march in the opening procession.

For the 27th consecutive Commencement, the program will begin with music by The Mighty Mississippi Concert Band of St. Louis, under the direction of Dan Presgrave, music director/conductor of the Washington University Symphony Orchestra, the Washington University Wind Ensemble and the St. Louis Wind Symphony.

Tasha Nicholson, who will receive a bachelor of arts in music in Arts & Sciences, will sing “America the Beautiful.”

Ryon Buchman, treasurer of the senior class, will deliver the student Commencement greeting.

Conferral of academic degrees will follow, with the deans of each of the schools and Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor, dean of Arts & Sciences and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, assisting Wrighton.

After the conferral of degrees, Wrighton will deliver his message to the Class of 2007.

Charles Broze, who will receive a bachelor of music, will conclude the ceremony by singing the “Alma Mater.”

Afterward, the University’s schools will hold receptions for graduates and their guests.