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Emory to Hold Commencement May 11 for 4,500+ Graduates

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Emory's 170th Commencement, set for Monday, May 11, celebrates the diverse achievements of the Class of 2015, from academic excellence to compassionate community service.

Renowned author and human rights advocate Salman Rushdie will cap off his tenure as University Distinguished Professor at Emory University when he delivers the keynote address at Emory's170th commencement ceremony Monday, May 11. He also will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree.

Commencement starts at 8 a.m. and will take place on Emory's campus Quadrangle. About 15,000 people are expected to be in attendance.  Emory President James Wagner will preside at the 90-minute ceremony for about 4,500 graduating students and their families.

The Class of 2015 will participate in the pageantry of commencement exercises that reflect centuries-old tradition, and a present day emphasis on keeping the day "green." Most graduation gowns will be fashioned entirely out of recycled plastic bottles – the equivalent of 80,000 post-consumer plastic bottles diverted from landfills. Other environmentally sustainable features include programs made of recycled paper; an increased emphasis on carpooling and mass transit campus shuttle service; water bottle refilling stations; and a continued university-wide goal toward a "zero landfill waste" commencement.

Three other individuals will join Rushdie as honorary degree recipients:

  • Shirley Franklin, former mayor of Atlanta and chair of the board of directors for the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Franklin will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
  • Billy Frye, a nationally respected higher education administrator who served as Emory's first provost, chancellor, dean of what is now Laney Graduate School and interim president. Frye, an Emory alumnus, will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree.
  • R. Randall Rollins, chairman of the board of directors for Rollins, Inc., renowned philanthropist and benefactor. Rollins will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

MEDIA ONLY: A detailed media advisory with logistics information for media representatives who plan to cover Emory's commencement will be sent Friday morning, May 9.

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