University of Rochester

EVENT: University of Rochester 150th Commencement Highlights Peace Corps director to address sesquicentennial graduating class, receive medal

April 27, 2000

Mark L. Schneider, director of the Peace Corps, will deliver the commencement address to the University of Rochester's sesquicentennial class and will receive the inaugural George Eastman Medal at the 150th commencement on Sunday, May 14.

With an extensive background in public service, Schneider was appointed head of the Peace Corps in December. Previously, he was an assistant administrator of the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United States Agency for International Development, where he directed U.S. foreign assistance programs in this hemisphere. Schneider also served as chief of the office of Analysis and Strategic Planning and as senior policy advisor to the director at the Pan American Health Organization.

The George Eastman Medal, newly created in honor of the University's sesquicentennial, recognizes individuals who, through outstanding achievement and dedicated service, embody the high ideals for which the University stands. Eastman was the founder of Eastman Kodak Company and one of the nation's great benefactors to higher education as well as the University's major donor.

The University is in the midst of a year-and-a-half long celebration that marks the opening of its doors in the fall of 1850. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of women's entrance to the University.

Commencement ceremonies for bachelor's and master's degree candidates from the College, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Eastman School of Music, Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the School of Nursing, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry will start at 9 a.m. on the Eastman Quadrangle of the River Campus and will proceed even in the event of showers.

Commencement ceremonies for doctoral candidates from the College, School of Engineering, Eastman School, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Warner School, and School of Nursing will be held Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. in the Eastman Theatre. This year, the 7,000th doctoral student trained by the University will receive a Ph.D. during the ceremonies.

The commencement ceremony for M.D. graduates of the School of Medicine and Dentistry will be held Sunday, May 21, at 11 a.m. in the Eastman Theatre. Samuel O. Thier, president and chief executive officer of Partners HealthCare System Inc., will give the address and receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

The William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration commencement will take place on Sunday, June 11, at 10 a.m. in Eastman Theatre. John C. Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group Inc., will deliver the commencement address.

Degrees to be awarded in all schools: 2,442 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

Bachelor's and Master's Degree Commencement Ceremony, 9 a.m. Sunday, May 14, on Eastman Quadrangle, River Campus:

Mark L. Schneider, Commencement Address and Recipient, George Eastman Medal

A Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador from 1966 to 1968, Mark L. Schneider is the second former volunteer to return to direct the agency. He served in the United States Agency for International Development for six years before being named the 15th director of the Peace Corps.

Before he began work at USAID, Schneider served as chief of the Office of Analysis and Strategic Planning and as senior policy advisor to the director at the Pan American Health Organization. In addition, he served as senior deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights from 1977 to 1979, and as a staff member for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy from 1970 to 1977.

Schneider is the recipient of the Bernardo O'Higgins Medal for human rights work from the government of Chile, the Congressional Fellowship of the American Political Science Association, and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship at Reed College. He also has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University and has taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

William F. May, Hutchison Medal

The Hutchison Medal, the highest honor the University gives its alumni, recognizes outstanding achievements and notable service to community, state, or nation.

William F. May '37 is chairman and chief executive officer of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which has raised nearly $500 million to restore those two national monuments. Prior to joining the foundation in 1984, he served as dean of the business administration faculty and dean of the graduate school of business administration at New York University.

May began his career at American Can Company, where he rose from the ranks to become chairman and chief executive officer. A Life Trustee of the University, May has served on several corporate and nonprofit boards and has been recognized for his accomplishments with honorary degrees from Clarkson University, Oklahoma Christian College, Lafayette College, and Livingston University.

John Givens, Edward Peck Curtis Award for Undergraduate Teaching

John Givens, associate professor of Russian, earns praise from colleagues and students alike. "John has combined brilliant classroom teaching with innovative curricular advancements to become one of the College's standout undergraduate instructors," wrote a faculty member.

Students attest to his enthusiasm and humor in the classroom while revealing that he holds them to the highest standards, and this year he was named Professor of the Year in the humanities by the Student Association. His courses, ranging from Russian language to his own innovative "Russia Goes to the Movies" course, earn many perfect scores in student evaluations.

In addition to teaching, Givens has established a reputation as a scholar, authoring numerous articles, reviews, translations, and literary criticism. He has published a book of translations of the work of the late contemporary Russian writer Vasily Shukshin's Stories from a Siberian Village, and his new book on Shukshin is scheduled for publication in June. Givens also has served as director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and he has been actively involved in the department's study abroad opportunities.

Brian Brent, G. Graydon and Jane W. Curtis Award for Teaching, Nontenured

Brian Brent is an assistant professor in the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, teaching courses on educational finance. It's a highly specialized topic, but Brent has succeeded in earning rave reviews while developing five new courses since joining the Warner faculty three years ago.

Many of his students have asked him to supervise their independent studies or chair their dissertations, leading a colleague to say, "Students, in short, have not just written glowing evaluations of his courses but also have 'voted with their feet' in seeking him out as a mentor." Extending his teaching outside of the classroom, Brent has served as a coach or consultant on budgeting and other finance issues to several schools, school districts, and nonprofit institutions.

Brent also has written and edited several books, published numerous articles, presented at professional conferences, served on professional association boards, and earned several awards, including the New Scholars Award from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Jean Flannigan Dissertation of the Year Award from the American Education Finance Association.

Doctoral Degree Commencement Ceremony, 10 a.m., Saturday, May 13, in Eastman Theatre:

Emil Wolf, University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

"If there is anyone who can be said to be the world's teacher of optics for the latter part of the 20th century, it is Emil Wolf," wrote a Nobel Prize winner recently of Emil Wolf.

Wolf is the Wilson Professor of Optics whose book Principles of Optics, co-authored with Nobel laureate Max Born, is one of the defining texts in the optics community, where it is known simply as Born & Wolf. Among his former students are the director of the largest physical research laboratory in India, the director of the optics department at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, the director of the optics division at IBM Research Laboratories, plus faculty at universities throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

An honorary member of the Optical Society of America and the recipient of the Society's most prestigious honor, the Frederic Ives Medal, Wolf holds honorary degrees from universities worldwide, among many other distinctions. He also is the author or co-author of some 300 publications.

Masatoshi Koshiba, Rochester Distinguished Scholar

Masatoshi Koshiba, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, received his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1995. This year, he is the co-recipient of the Wolf Prize in Physics, considered second only to the Nobel Prize in prestige, for his discovery that neutrinos have mass. Neutrinos are tiny particles smaller than atoms, and Koshiba's discovery is being hailed for its ramifications in the study of astronomical objects and the fundamental properties of matter, helping scientists to understand the birth of the universe.

Koshiba started his career as a research associate at the University of Rochester, then went on to teach at the University of Tokyo. His long career has included positions as a professor, fellow, distinguished scholar, or research laboratory director at such institutions as the University of Chicago, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Hamburg.

Among Koshiba's many awards are the Bruno Rossi Award of the American Physical Society, the Fujiwara Prize of the Fujiwara Science Foundation, and the Order of Cultural Merit presented by the emperor of Japan.

Note to Editors: Givens and Wolf are residents of Brighton.