April 26, 2003, news release following commencement.

March 20, 2003

Gov. Jennifer Granholm to deliver U-M commencement address

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will deliver the main address and receive an honorary degree when the University of Michigan holds its spring commencement exercises on Saturday, April 26 in Michigan Stadium.

The honorary degree for Granholm, as well as for five additional recipients, was approved by the U-M regents at their March 20 meeting.

"I am gratified that Gov. Granholm will deliver this year's Commencement address—in my first year as president of the University and her first year as governor," said Mary Sue Coleman. "Gov. Granholm represents an example of energetic and dedicated public service that will be of great value to our graduates as they begin the next stage of their lives."

The honorary degrees to be conferred are Granholm, doctor of laws; Oleg Grabar, professor emeritus at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, doctor of humane letters; Judith Jamison, director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, doctor of fine arts; Hillel I. Shuval, Lunenfeld-Kunen Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, doctor of science; John J.H. Schwarz, former Michigan state senator representing Battle Creek, doctor of laws; and Billy Taylor, jazz pianist and educator, doctor of music.

Photo of Governor Jennifer Granholm
Governor Jennifer Granholm

Schwarz will be the main speaker at the University Graduate Exercises on April 25, and Taylor will receive his honorary degree and serve as the main speaker at the commencement ceremonies for the University of Michigan-Flint on May 4.

Granholm will also address more than 6,000 Michigan State University undergraduates at convocation ceremonies on Friday, May 2 in East Lansing.

"I am thrilled to be speaking to the Class of 2003 at the University of Michigan," said Granholm. "These young people are our future. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to them about how they will impact our world."

Granholm was inaugurated as Michigan's 47th governor, and the state's first female governor, on January 1, 2003. Previously she served as the state attorney general following her election in November 1998. As attorney general she established the state's first High Tech Crime Unit to prosecute Internet crimes. Her office brought the nation's first criminal charges against an on-line company selling GHB, the date-rape drug, via the Internet, and was the first law enforcement official to use racketeering charges to successfully shut down a for-profit child pornography Web site. She took criminal action against numerous nursing homes and physicians for the neglect or abuse of their patients or for Medicaid fraud.

The first person in her family to attend college, Granholm earned a bachelor's degree in political science and French from the University of California-Berkeley, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. At Harvard Law School, she was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, and graduated with honors in 1987. She clerked for U.S. Judge Damon Keith on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1990, Granholm became a federal prosecutor in Detroit, and in 1994 she was appointed Wayne County Corporation Counsel.

Oleg Grabar
Photo of Oleg GrabarGrabar is the former Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Harvard University and is emeritus at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. He received the prestigious Charles Lang Freer medal "in recognition of his enormous impact on American understanding of Islamic art," by the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. in April 2001. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and completed his doctoral studies in Oriental languages, literature and art history at Princeton University. Grabar is a leading expert in the field of Islamic Art and the architecture of Jerusalem. He served on the faculty of the University of Michigan from 1955-1969.
Grabar's writings have played a crucial role in defining new frameworks for studying the field of Islamic art and architecture during the past quarter century. He is the founding editor of Muqarnas, the annual journal on Islamic art and architecture.

Judith Jamison
Photo of Judith JamisonJamison has been artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1989, following Ailey's death. A highly regarded choreographer, she has created works for many companies, including HERE...NOW, commissioned for the 2002 Cultural Olympiad of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. In 1999, she was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for her "unique and extremely valuable contributions to the cultural life of our nation," and she was presented with a National Medal of Arts, the most prestigious award for an artist in the United States, by President Bush. She holds an honorary doctorate from Howard University. She was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography for the PBS documentary "A Hymn for Alvin Ailey."
Discovered by Agnes DeMille, Jamison made her New York City debut with the American Ballet Theater in 1964 and joined the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in 1965. In 1971, Ailey choreographed "Cry" expressly for her: a 15-minute solo depicting the struggles of Black women, which became her signature piece.

Hillel I. Shuval
Photo of Hillel I. ShuvalShuval, a 1952 alumnus of U-M's School of Public Health, was the founder of the first environmental protection program in the State of Israel and the originator and later director of environmental science program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was professor of environmental sciences. He is a world authority on water supplies and public health, whose research and service have been supported by major international organizations.

Shuval has been especially effective in building bridges of understanding through scientific cooperation among Israel, the Palestinian community and neighboring Arab states, pioneering numerous collaborative studies to address shared environmental problems. He has served as advisor to the World Bank and the World Health Organization. He is also a strong advocate for civil rights and for scientific, cultural and religious freedom in Israel. He is currently chairman of the Council for Freedom of Science, Religion and Culture in Israel.

John J.H. (Joe) Schwarz, M.D.
Photo of John J.H. (Joe) Schwarz, M.D.During 16 years in the Michigan State Senate, Schwarz championed public higher education, most recently as chair of the higher education subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Prior to serving in the Michigan Senate, Schwarz was Mayor of Battle Creek from 1985-1987 and a Battle Creek Commissioner from 1979-1987. Schwarz practices medicine and surgery in Battle Creek and is on the active staff of the Battle Creek Health System.

Schwarz received an A.B. in history from the University of Michigan, and his M.D. from Wayne State University. He completed his residency training in otolaryngology at Harvard and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is past president of the Calhoun County Medical Society, and a past trustee of Leila Post Montgomery Hospital in Battle Creek. He serves on the Alumni Visiting Committee for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan and on the visiting Alumni Committee for the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is a trustee of Olivet College. Schwarz also served in the United States Navy in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Billy Taylor
Photo of Billy TaylorTaylor has been playing jazz piano for well over 50 years. During the second half of the 20th century, perhaps no other musician has done as much to place jazz music into the consciousness of the American public.

Taylor made his first professional appearance at age 13. He studied classical music with Henry Grant, who had also trained Duke Ellington. He earned a bachelor's degree in music from Virginia State College in 1942 and went immediately to New York City, where he began his full time professional career. He completed his doctorate in music education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he currently occupies the Wilber D. Barrett Chair of Music. He also is a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University.

In 1942, Taylor quickly caught the attention of major jazz musicians of the time such as Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Lester Young. His talent for educating people about jazz showed first in a 13-part series produced in 1958 for National Educational Television called "The Subject is Jazz." Since then Taylor has appeared on CBS Television and on public television. But he really found a home on radio: he became a disc jockey on New York's WLIB in 1959, where he became "the voice of jazz in New York." In 1962 he joined WNEW in New York as the first African American to host a daily show on a major New York station.

In 1992 President George Bush presented Taylor with the National Medal of Arts and in 1994 he was named artistic advisor for jazz at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


Contact: Joel Seguine
Phone: (734) 936-6396


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