Some 19,000 Graduates and Guests Attend in Washington Square Park

University Bestows Honorary Degrees on Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, Sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Nobel-Winning Neuroscientist Eric Kandel, and Historian Jaroslav Pelikan Bruce Ratner to Receive NYU’s Rudin Award

Jan Vilcek to Receive NYU’s Gallatin Medal

New York University President John Sexton and NYU Board of Trustees Chairman Martin Lipton today officiated at the University’s 173rd Commencement. Some 6,000 students receiving undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and 13,000 guests attended the morning ceremony. The ceremony, which was also attended by alumni, faculty, and other members of the University community, was held in Washington Square Park, at the heart of NYU’s Greenwich Village campus.

Shirley Tilghman, a geneticist and president of Princeton University, gave a “Response on Behalf of the Honorary Degree Recipients,” an NYU tradition; she received a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa.

The University also bestowed honorary doctorates on:

Louise Bourgeois, sculptor and artist; she received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa Eric Kandel, physician, neuroscientist, Nobel Laureate and alumnus of the NYU School of Medicine; he received a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa Jaroslav Pelikan, historian and authority on the evolution of Christianity; he received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa

For his exemplary leadership as a New York City developer and for his commitment to charitable causes, Bruce Ratner, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner, was awarded the “Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Public Service” during the Commencement ceremony. The award honors the kind of service to the city and its communities that was characterized by Lewis Rudin during his life.

Jan T. Vilcek - a microbiologist and faculty member for 40 years at the NYU School of Medicine whose work led to the invention of Remicade, which is used to treat hundreds of thousands of patients with chronic inflammatory disorders — was awarded the University’s Albert Gallatin Medal at NYU’s Commencement. The Gallatin Medal, first presented to NYU alumnus Dr. Jonas Salk in 1957, is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to society. It was bestowed upon Dr. Vilcek in recognition of his contributions to humankind, his philanthropic legacy, and his unwavering commitment to NYU.

Dr. Sexton said, “We are very proud of this year’s honorees. They are exemplars for our University community: people of achievement whose leadership, accomplishments, and contributions are something to which we hope our graduates will aspire as they leave NYU and go forth to careers and further study. They are people who promote knowledge and scholarship, create art, alleviate suffering, and add to the prosperity of humankind.

“Commencement day is a time of great pride for faculty. Scholars affiliate at universities to accomplish precisely this: to leverage our scholarship and our passion for teaching out into the world through our students. We are so proud of our graduates on this day; on behalf of NYU’s faculty and the entire community, I offer my congratulations to our graduates, and their families.”

The student speaker at the 2005 Commencement Exercises was Pamela Tadross, who received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude from the College of Arts and Science in chemistry, with a minor in classical civilization. A native of Brooklyn, she is a Presidential Honors Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the recipient of both the Robert Byrd and George Granger Brown Scholarships. She has published in the scholarly journal Inorganic Chemistry, and led recitation sections in chemistry. She is also a dedicated musician, and has served as musical director for a number of musical theatre productions, and she has been in active in the NYU’s Bronfman Center theatre group. She will be going on to the California Institute of Technology to pursue a doctorate in chemistry.

In keeping with NYU tradition, Commencement included “The Ceremony of the Torch.” The University torch - designed and fashioned by Tiffany and Co. in sterling silver and donated to the University in 1911 - was passed from a senior member of the faculty - Professor Shulamith Lala Straussner of the School of Social Work — to the youngest undergraduate degree recipient, Adepeju A. Adeyemo, a 19-year-old graduate of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Participants in the Commencement Exercises included degree recipients from all of NYU’s schools and colleges. The Hippocratic Oath was administered to the medical doctors graduating from the NYU School of Medicine at Commencement.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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