MEDIA ADVISORY: Washington University Commencement is 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 15

Filmmaker Ken Burns to deliver address; Herbie Hancock, Rabbi Susan Talve among honorary degree recipients

WHAT: Washington University’s 154th Commencement. The university will award 2,974 degrees to 2,825 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The university also will bestow honorary degrees on five individuals.

WHO: Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, who has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, will deliver the 2015 Commencement address. During the ceremony, Burns will receive an honorary doctor of humanities degree.

Washington University’s four other honorary degree recipients and their degrees are:

  • Mary-Dell Chilton, PhD, a distinguished science fellow at Syngenta Biotechnology Inc., a key founder of modern plant biotechnology and a recent inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, doctor of science;
  • Gerald D. Fischbach, MD, an internationally renowned neuroscientist and chief scientist and fellow of the Simons Foundation, doctor of science;
  • Herbie Hancock, an icon of modern music who has had an illustrious career spanning five decades, doctor of humane letters; and
  • Susan Talve, the founding rabbi of Central Reform Congregation and named one of the nation’s most inspirational rabbis in 2014, doctor of humane letters.

WHERE: Brookings Quadrangle, which is directly west of Brookings Hall, the university’s main administration building that sits on hill overlooking Forest Park.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 15, 2015

MEDIA RESERVED SEATING: News organizations sending a reporter to Commencement should call Sue Killenberg McGinn by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 14, to make arrangements for a reserved seat. Mult boxes will be available at the seats and near the Beaumont Pavilion stage. The reserved media seats are in the Chancellor’s section, which is at the north end of the Quad on the east side of Beaumont Pavilion.

MEDIA PARKING: Reserved media parking is available near the south end of Brookings Hall. Take Forsyth Boulevard or Forest Park Parkway to Hoyt Drive; take Hoyt to south leg of the circle drive that leads up to Brookings Hall, where a parking attendant will direct you. Please show attendant a media ID.

LIVE TV BROADCASTS: TV stations who plan to shoot live from Brookings Quad should make arrangements with Liam Otten. Please call 314-935-8494 (office) on May 14 or 314-874-6331 (cell) on May 15.

SEVERE WEATHER PLAN: Commencement will be held outside rain or shine. However, in case of severe weather, the all-university commencement ceremony in Brookings Quadrangle would be canceled. A ceremony for undergraduates only would move inside to the Athletics Complex Field House and begin at 8:30 a.m. If the severe weather schedule is necessary, media will be notified by 7 a.m. Friday.

For more information the morning of Commencement, call Sue Killenberg McGinn at 314-603-6008.