More Than 7,000 Graduates to Receive Diplomas at Mason’s 2009 Commencement

Posted: April 13, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

George Mason University’s 2009 Commencement is set for Saturday, May 16, in the Patriot Center. More than 7,000 graduates will receive diplomas that day, a record number for the university.

Steve Case
Steve Case

Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution and co-founder of America Online, is the commencement speaker. He and Paul Strassmann, distinguished professor of information sciences at Mason, will be awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters honorary degree.

Case launched Revolution in 2005. Described as a company that seeks to drive transformative change by shifting power to consumers, Revolution partners with entrepreneurs in building businesses that give people more choice, control and convenience in such areas as heath, finances and wellness.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Case is also chairman of two nonprofit organizations: the Case Foundation, a private family foundation; and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, an entrepreneurial approach to funding brain cancer research. Case was co-founder of AOL and former chair of AOL Time Warner.

Paul Strassmann
Paul Strassmann

Strassmann is completing a three-year appointment to Mason’s faculty as a distinguished professor. A native of Czechoslovakia and former guerilla soldier during World War II, he has enjoyed a distinguished career in both the private and public sectors. Among the positions he has held in his career are global director of corporate computer systems for General Foods, chief information officer for Xerox, executive for the corporate information management program of the U.S. Department of Defense and chief information officer for NASA.

Other Commencement honorees are Donald and Nancy de Laski, community activists and patrons of the arts at Mason who will each receive the Mason Medal. Their support has made possible the university’s new Center for Consciousness and Transformation, an institution funded through a major 10-year commitment of $10 million from the de Laski Family Foundation.

Donald and Nancy de Laski
Donald and Nancy de Laski

The de Laskis have been affiliated with Mason via their support of the arts and various academic programs. Presently, Donald de Laski serves on the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees and Nancy de Laski serves on Mason’s Visual and Performing Arts board.

Degrees to be awarded at Commencement are 4,061 bachelor’s degrees; 2,535 master’s degrees; 240 doctoral degrees; and 237 law degrees.

This year’s top undergraduate majors are psychology with 284 graduates, accounting with 265 graduates, communication with 218 graduates, biology with 215 graduates and management with 214 graduates.

The oldest member of the class of 2009 is Ana Reynales, 82. She receives a bachelor of arts degree in foreign languages with a concentration in Spanish. The youngest graduate is Rochelle Shams, 18, who receives a bachelor of science degree in management.

The Commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

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