Two UW-Madison honorary degree recipients to speak at commencement

April 14, 2006

by Barbara Wolff

One advocates for the poor of Africa by working on agricultural issues. One promotes local sustainability in agriculture and the culinary arts.

Both attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Both will receive honorary degrees from UW-Madison during spring commencement weekend, Friday-Sunday, May 12-14. And both will be commencement speakers.

Florence Chenoweth, now occupying a senior position in the United Nations, and Odessa Piper, formerly chef-proprietor of Madison's L'Etoile restaurant on the Capitol Square, will address graduates and their families and friends at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 14.

Commencement 2006 will mark a reversal in the Saturday and Sunday ceremonies. This year, exercises for the College of Letters and Science (L & S) bachelor's and master's candidates will be on Sunday, May 14. In previous years, it had been on Saturday.

According to David Musolf, UW-Madison's secretary of the faculty, whose office plans and coordinates commencement ceremonies, the change will help accommodate students moving out of nearby residence halls.

"The two L & S ceremonies have the largest number of graduates and guests, and Saturday also is the peak day for students moving out of university residence halls. The confluence of traffic from commencement and from the southeast residence halls can cause gridlock. By moving the L & S ceremonies to Sunday, we hope to minimize the aggravation," he says.

Specific ceremonies are:

  • Friday, May 12, 5:30 p.m. Doctor of philosophy, master of fine arts, professional degrees. Honorary degrees also will be awarded at this ceremony.
  • Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. Bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural and life sciences, education, environmental studies, human ecology, medicine, nursing and pharmacy.
  • Saturday, May 13, 2 p.m. Bachelor's and master's degrees in business and engineering. Chenoweth will speak at both Saturday ceremonies.
  • Sunday, May 14, 10 a.m. L & S bachelor's and master's degrees in majors A-H (African languages and literature through history of science).
  • Sunday, May 14, 2 p.m. Bachelor's and master's degrees in L & S majors from I-Z (international studies through zoology). Graduates with multiple majors are asked to attend the ceremony of the major coming first in the alphabet. Piper will address both Sunday ceremonies.

About 5,000 students are eligible for degrees from UW-Madison each spring. The Office of the Registrar will have the exact number after the semester ends. All ceremonies are held at the Kohl Center on Dayton Street and are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in most adjoining university lots and on city streets. Musolf says that those attending commencement are encouraged to look for parking away from the Kohl Center to minimize traffic congestion. Alcohol is strictly prohibited. In addition, guests are asked not to bring strollers, coolers, thermos bottles, balloons, backpacks, large bags or luggage into the Kohl Center.

For more information, call the commencement hotline, (608) 262-9076.