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5,319 Graduates to Receive Degrees During MU’s Spring Commencement Ceremonies

May 03, 2011

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi,, 573-882-4430

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Beginning Friday, May 13 and continuing through Sunday, May 15, more than 5,000 students will celebrate the end of their academic journeys during Spring commencement exercises at the University of Missouri. University officials also will honor journalist Byron Calame, researcher Kathryn Calame and educator Brian O’Connell with honorary degrees at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 13 and musician Sheryl Crow and geneticist Ian Wilmut with honorary degrees at the Honors Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

“The University of Missouri is honored to have graduates who excel in every field of study,” said Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment at MU. “We know our graduates will strive for achievement in whatever their next steps may be, whether that is continuing their education, entering the professional world or serving their communities.”

During commencement weekend, MU will award 5,868 degrees, including 4,322 bachelor’s degrees, 941 master’s degrees, 288 doctorates, 93 medical degrees, 69 veterinary medicine degrees, 133 law degrees and 22 education specialist degrees. (Some students receive more than one degree.)

Officials from each school and college hold separate ceremonies for commencement, and many invite notable speakers to address the graduates. Governor Jay Nixon will be speaking at the College of Arts and Science ceremony on Saturday, May 14. Nixon received a law degree from MU.

Ernest Agee, the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award, will speak at the Graduate School ceremony on Friday, May 13. Agee’s research on the development of tornadoes has helped increase safety in Indiana after a tornado nearly destroyed a nerve gas facility.

Other speakers at this year’s commencement ceremonies include:

  • Marty Becker, author and veterinary correspondent for Good Morning America, will speak at the College of Veterinary Medicine ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 13 at Jesse Auditorium in Jesse Hall.
  • Missouri Attorney General Christopher A. Koster, who received a law degree from MU in 1991, will speak at the School of Law ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, May 15 at Jesse Auditorium in Jesse Hall.
  • United States Senator Claire McCaskill will speak at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources ceremony at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 14 at the Hearnes Center.

NOTE: A detailed schedule of events and biographical information of honorary degree recipients are attached. For more information on the commencement ceremonies and Columbia accommodations, please visit

MU Spring Commencement


Schedule of Events


NOTE: Students in the School of Social Work will participate in the College of Human Environmental Sciences ceremony. The School of Natural Resources will hold a separate commencement ceremony from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.


Friday, May 13

Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business

1 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speaker: Edward Rapp, group president of Caterpillar, Inc.


College of Veterinary Medicine

1:30 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: Marty Becker, author and veterinary correspondent for Good Morning America.

College of Human Environmental Sciences

4:30 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speaker: Stephen R. Jorgensen, dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences


Sinclair School of Nursing

5:30 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: University of Missouri Curator Judith G. Haggard  


School of Journalism

6:30 p.m.

Mizzou Arena

Alumnus Speaker: Eduardo Ulibarri Bilbao, MU alumnus, ambassador and permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations.

Graduate School

8 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speakers: Ernest M. Agee, Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award recipient, and honorary degree recipients Barney Calame, Kathryn Calame and Brian O’Connell


Saturday, May 14

Honors Ceremony

8:30 a.m.

Francis Quadrangle, MU Campus

Speakers: Sheryl Crow and Ian Wilmut, honorary degree recipients

In the event of inclement weather, the Honors Ceremony will be held in Mizzou Arena.


School of Natural Resources

12 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: Laura K. Furgione, MU alumna, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deputy assistant administrator for weather services and deputy director for the National Weather Service.

College of Education

1 p.m.

Mizzou Arena

Speaker: Sarah Lucianek, a graduate of the MU Teaching Fellows program and teacher in Washington D.C.


School of Medicine

2:30 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: Dan L. Longo, 1975 graduate of the MU School of Medicine, deputy editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, senior physician with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and investigator and former scientific director for the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.


College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

3 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speaker: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.


School of Health Professions

5:30 p.m.

Mizzou Arena

Speaker: Marjorie Smelstor, president and CEO of Smelstor and Associates


College of Arts and Science

7:30 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speaker: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.


Sunday, May 15

ROTC Commissioning of Officers

12 p.m.

Mizzou Arena

Speaker: Ike Skelton, former U.S. representative for Missouri’s 4th congressional district.


School of Law

1:30 p.m.

Jesse Auditorium, Jesse Hall

Speaker: Missouri Attorney General Christopher A. Koster, who received a law degree from MU in 1991.

College of Engineering

2:30 p.m.

Hearnes Center

Speaker: U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer


Sheryl Crow Biography

Sheryl Crow has succeeded as a musician and leveraged her fame for the betterment of others.

A native of Kennett, Mo., Crow graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1984. She settled in Fenton, where she taught elementary school music. In 1986, she left Missouri for Los Angeles to pursue a career in music.

Crow achieved critical acclaim and commercial success for her first album, “Tuesday Night Music Club.” Released in 1993, more than 7 million copies of the album sold in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. She won three Grammy awards for the album, including Record of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance. Crow has since won six more Grammys.

Last year, Crow released “100 Miles from Memphis,” her eighth album to reach the top 10 of the Billboard album charts.

With her fame, Crow has worked to help others in her home state and around the world. As a breast cancer survivor, Crow has worked to raise funds to find a cure. Last year, she opened The Sheryl Crow Imaging Center in Los Angeles, which features digital screening and imaging equipment for breast cancer patients.

In addition, she has served as an advocate for the Scleroderma Research Foundation, United Nations World Food Programme and anti-global warming programs. Crow is a vocal supporter of music education programs. She has performed a concert benefitting the VH1 “Save the Music” campaign to promote music education in schools.

Crow also has made a special effort to help entities in her home state and hometown. For years, Crow has raised funds through her website for the Delta Children’s Home, a center for needy children based in Kennett. She has hosted benefit concerts, built a local recreational pool, and donated money and clothing to locals in need. She also headlined a concert benefiting Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis.

Crow returned to campus for a concert in 2002. One year later, Crow served as Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Crow lives in Nashville with her children, Wyatt and Levi.

Byron E. “Barney” Calame biography

Over the past four decades, Missouri native and University of Missouri alumnus Byron E. “Barney” Calame has dedicated himself to the practice of ethical and responsible journalism as a reporter and editor for both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Calame is also a supporter of young people entering journalism, serving as the head of the Dow Jones News Fund program, which provides paid internships for aspiring journalists.

As the public editor and ombudsman for The New York Times, Calame was the reader’s representative. His daily duties included responding to the public’s comments and complaints as well as monitoring the staff’s journalistic practices.

Prior to working at The New York Times, Calame was the deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. While there, he looked after paper-wide quality control as well as reporting and ethical standards and took charge in the absence of the managing editor.

Before that, Calame worked at The Wall Street Journal as a reporter in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., from 1965 to 1974 when he became a bureau chief in Pittsburgh. In 1978, he returned to Los Angeles as bureau chief until becoming an assistant managing editor in charge of West Coast coverage in 1985. Calame returned to New York as a senior editor in 1987, becoming the deputy managing editor in 1992.

Calame received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the MU School of Journalism in 1961 and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland. He was the 1996 Faculty-Alumni Award recipient from MU and was the MU Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in 1997.

Calame was honored for his tireless efforts on behalf of The Wall Street Journal and business journalism in general with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002 by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), an organization he served as president for from 2000 to 2001. He received the Elliot V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers Association. In 2005, he received the Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for his exceptional contributions to the field of business, financial and economic news over the course of his career.

Calame served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1965. He served on a minesweeper in the first division of ships assigned to South Vietnam and then as a public information officer in Washington.

Calame is the husband of fellow honorary degree recipient Kathryn Calame, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and of microbiology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The couple has two grown children.

Kathryn Calame biography


Over the past 35 years, Kathryn Calame has been internationally recognized for her valuable contributions to both immunology and cancer research. Along with distinguished lectureships at prestigious institutions, she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Faculty of 1000 and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1962, Calame graduated with honors from the University of Missouri with a bachelor of science in chemistry. Due to her success as an undergraduate, she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society and was recognized with awards from the American Institute of Chemists and Merck for scientific achievement. Calame went on to obtain her masters and doctorate in biochemistry from George Washington University.

After focusing on the molecular characteristics of regulatory proteins, ribosomes and gene regulators and their interactions with DNA, Calame studied the immune system’s response to foreign antigens. This research helped scientists understand immunoglobulin and helped provide the foundation for vaccine strategies, many of which are still in use today.

In 1980, Calame was appointed to the biological chemistry faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine. In 1988, Calame joined the departments of Microbiology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. There, Calame characterized a specific regulatory protein, known as B-lymphocyte induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP-1), which increased scientists’ understanding of the human immune response.

Calame expanded her research interests to tumor cells, which helped her obtain additional funding from the National Institutes of Health. She also was recognized with a Leukemia Society Scholar Award and the UCLA Dwyer Award for outstanding cancer research.

Over the course of her career, Calame has served as professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons and as director of the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies. Internationally recognized for her contributions to immunology and cancer research, Calame has published 150 peer-reviewed publications, review articles and book chapters.

Calame is the wife of fellow honorary degree recipient Byron E. “Barney” Calame, the former public editor and ombudsman for The New York Times. The couple has two grown children.

Brian O’Connell Biography


Educator Brian O’Connell has dedicated his life to improving the quality of education, especially higher education, throughout South Africa.

In 1969, O’Connell received a joint bachelor’s degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He began his teaching career in 1970 at Florida High School in Ravensmead, South Africa. After serving as vice principal at Bekkar Secondary School, he was appointed principal of Kleinvlei Senior Secondary School in 1980. During his years as a high school administrator, he also earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UNISA. O’Connell applied for and won a Fulbright Scholarship to the United States. In the U.S., O’Connell earned a master’s degree in history education from Columbia University in New York in 1984 and a master’s of education degree from Columbia in 1985.

In 1985, O’Connell returned to South Africa to take a position as senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. Three years later, he was appointed rector of the Athlone College of Education. After servicing several other administrative positions in higher education, O’Connell was appointed to head the UMC Education Department in 1995. In that position, he oversaw more than 2,000 educational institutions, including 18 technical colleges.

In October 2001, O’Connell was appointed to the UWC’s highest post:  rector and vice chancellor (president), a position he still holds.. Under his visionary leadership, UWC has been transformed from an institution that was struggling under the apartheid system to one of the finest schools of higher learning on the African continent. He serves as a powerful example of the impact that a committed educator can have in improving the quality of an institution. He has convinced outside funders to provide millions of dollars to UWC to support scholarships for UWC students and to build new state-of-the-art facilities on campus, including a new School of Public Health and a life sciences building.

O’Connell also has played an important role in the remarkable partnership between the University of Missouri and UWC. O’Connell has worked with faculty and administrators from each of the four UM campuses to promote a relationship that has provided enormous benefits to the students of both institutions and to the citizens of Missouri and South Africa. O’Connell has spoken passionately about the University of Missouri and its partnership with UWC to audiences across the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to being a Fulbright Scholar, O’Connell received several British Council grants to study in Great Britain. In the past 12 years, O’Connell has presented hundreds of addresses on higher education at conferences, seminars and public events throughout South Africa and across the world. He is an active participant on many boards and community organizations in South Africa and in the Western Cape, including serving as a board member of the Desmond Tutu Trust and the chair of Community Chest South Africa. Currently, he is chair of the National Access Consortium in Western Cape and a board member of Higher Education South Africa and of the South African National AIDS Council.

Brian and his wife, Judith, have two children, Amanda-Leigh and Bryan.

Ian Wilmut Biography

Ian Wilmut is best known as the leader of the pioneering team which, in 1996, produced the famous sheep “Dolly,” the first mammal cloned with genetic material from an adult cell. His achievements in animal cloning and gene expression have revolutionized scientific thinking and paved the way for genetic engineering in what Wilmut calls the “age of biological control.”

Wilmut was born to two teachers in Hampton Lucy, England, in 1944. He attended the University of Nottingham as an undergraduate; there, his lifelong interest in farming transformed into an unquenchable passion for animal science as he experienced scientific research for the first time.

Wilmut earned a doctorate at Darwin College of the University of Cambridge, where he studied under Christopher Polge, a highly distinguished reproductive biologist well known for his contributions to cryopreservation research. In 1973, Wilmut implanted a cryopreserved calf embryo into a surrogate cow, resulting in the birth of the first “frozen calf,” which he called Frosty.

After joining Scotland’s Roslin Institute, Wilmut’s attention turned to cloning. In 1996, he used his somatic cell nuclear transplant technique to construct embryos containing adult cell nuclei. These were implanted into surrogate mothers, one of which gave birth to Dolly, named after singer Dolly Parton.

Dolly’s birth sparked debate about the ethics of cloning. Wilmut has adamantly stated that he is against human cloning; his intention with this research was to produce cloned animals that can produce human proteins to help fight chronic diseases. In 1997, he proved the feasibility of this idea with the birth of Polly, a cloned sheep genetically altered to contain a human gene.

In addition to animal cloning, Wilmut has studied the mechanisms controlling embryonic development in humans as head of the Department of Gene Expression and Development at the Roslin Institute. He became chair of reproductive biology at the University of Edinburgh in 2005 and directs the Medical Research Council’s Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Wilmut has received multiple awards for his scientific achievements, including a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, fellowship in the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, and a knighthood.

His prolific contributions are evidenced not only by his research but also by his writings for publications such as Time, New Scientist and Scientific American. He also has co-authored books, The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control and After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Cloning.

Wilmut resides with his wife, Vivienne, in a small village near Edinburgh. They have three children, Helen, Naomi and Dean, and several grandchildren.

He is widely considered a candidate for the Nobel Prize.