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Nov. 20, 2003

Ambassador to Greece named speaker for winter commencement

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Thomas Miller, the U.S. ambassador to Greece who previously served in areas of conflict such as Bosnia, will be the speaker at winter commencement.

Miller also will receive an honorary degree, as will Ann Lurie, known as one of the Midwest's leading philanthropists, and Leo Goodman, who has made major contributions to statistical analysis. Nearly 1,500 students are expected to attend the 2 p.m. Dec. 14 commencement ceremony at Crisler Arena.

"I am pleased that we will be hearing from one of our distinguished graduates at commencement and that we will be able to honor him and two other great friends of the University," President Mary Sue Coleman said.

"Ann Lurie, who, in memory of her late husband Robert, has contributed much to the development of our North Campus, is an inspiration to all with her work in support of cancer and medical research. And as a world leader in social science methodology and social statistics, the University of Michigan has benefited greatly from professor Goodman's outstanding research and scholarship."

Miller has been the ambassador to Greece for two years. Prior to that, he was U.S. ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was honored for his courage and compassion for the many victims of conflict. He also has held diplomatic positions working with Cyprus, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, the Middle East and North Africa. Miller has taught courses in diplomacy and international relations at George Mason University, and he initiated Model United Nations programs at several city high schools in Washington, D.C.–a program he replicated during his service in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He received many awards, including several from the Department of State and the U.S. government. In 2001, the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina bestowed upon him the title of "honorary citizen," and Sarajevo made him an "honorary resident."

Miller–who speaks Greek, Spanish, Thai, Indonesian and Japanese—received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in political science from U-M. He also holds a master's degree in Asian studies from the University. At commencement, he will receive an honorary doctor of laws.

Lurie is president of Lurie Investments, president and treasurer of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation, and president of African Infectious Disease Village Clinics Inc., a U.S. charity that funds a clinic in rural Kenya. She supported construction of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower at U-M, named in part for her late husband, a University alumnus. Along with her husband's friend and business partner Sam Zell, Ann Lurie provided funding for the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Business School. She also has endowed the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professorship in the School of Social Work, named for her mother, and has spearheaded funding of biomedical engineering and integrated microsystems.

Her philanthropic efforts have resulted in cancer and medical research centers at Northwestern University, where she is a trustee, and she provided major support for a food depository and garden in Chicago.
Lurie, who earned a nursing degree from the University of Florida, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at commencement.

Goodman's work has fundamentally transformed quantitative research methods in the social sciences, particularly sociology, by providing a set of interrelated statistical tools that enable researchers to examine qualitative/categorical data with scientific rigor. His work has helped to elevate the analysis of survey data to a rigorous branch of statistical science.

Goodman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He won many awards and honors from the American Statistical Association, the American Sociological Association, the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies, and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He is the author of four books and some 150 articles, and is among the most cited authors in the Social Science Index.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University. He has been on the faculty of the University of Chicago and a visiting professor at Cambridge and Columbia universities. He spent a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, Calif., and currently is on the faculty at the University of California-Berkeley. At commencement, he will receive an honorary doctor of science.

Contact: Nancy Connell
Phone: (734) 764-7260