UH To Graduate More Than 4,500 Students

Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor, will be among a group of distinguished guest speakers who will offer words of wisdom to the estimated 4,550 University of Houston students graduating this year.

This year's commencement, which runs Friday, May 14 through Sunday, May 16, also will include the awarding of honorary degrees and President's Medallions to a Houston nonprofit and several individuals including Texas singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett.

Giuliani, a name partner at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, will deliver the address at the UH Law Center commencement at noon, Sunday, May 16 at Hofheinz Pavilion. In 2001, Time magazine named Giuliani its "Person of the Year" for his leadership after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was presented with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award by former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Other guest speakers include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sandra Lopez, clinical associate professor, and optometrist Dr. Irvin M. Borish.

On May 14, Lopez will address Graduate of College of Social Work students at 1 p.m. at Cullen Performance Hall. Dewhurst will speak at the College of Pharmacy commencement at

9 a.m., Saturday, May 15 in Cullen Performance Hall. Later that day, optometry students will hear from Borish at their 1 p.m. ceremony. Borish, 97, was the Benedict Professor at the College of Optometry from1982 until 1987.

Billie Tsien, co-founder of the architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien, will address students, as part of Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture's awards and recognition ceremony at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 15 in the college atrium.

For the complete commencement schedule, visit  http://www.uh.edu/commencement/.

During this year's commencement, UH will award a Doctor of Humane Letters to Lovett and John Hoffmeister, founder and head of the nonprofit nationwide membership association Citizens for Affordable Energy, a public policy education firm promoting sound U.S. energy security solutions. Former president of Shell Oil Co., Hoffmeister is a director of the Texas Education Reform Committee and serves on the advisory board at UH and the University of North Texas.

Another highlight of commencement will be the presentation of three President's Medallions in recognition of service to the university and higher education. The recipients are alumna Wilhelmina Daisy Cullen Robertson Smith, former Cougar track star Carl Lewis, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Smith, who died last year, was the youngest daughter of Hugh Roy Cullen and Lillie Cranz Cullen, UH's founding family and first major benefactors. Smith's first husband, Corbin J. Robertson Sr., was a strong advocate of early Cougar athletics programs. His name graces the university's sports stadium. Smith was a life member of the UH Alumni Organization, which presented her with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989 and its Chairman's Award in 2003. She also received an honorary doctorate from UH in 1988.

Lewis launched his athletic career at the university, where as a student he won six National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. He went on to win 10 Olympic medals, nine of them gold, and set a world record for speed. In 1999, Lewis was named "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and "Olympian of the Century" by Sports Illustrated magazine. After retiring, Lewis founded the Carl Lewis Foundation and created www.FitForever.com to help people improve their lives through physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

Since it began in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed more than $250 million to support scholarships, research, endowments, the Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence and other educational and youth programs.

In addition, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who earned national recognition in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by mobilizing more than 100,000 Houstonians in the public, private, business and faith-based communities to help evacuees rebuild their lives, will receive a Humanitarian Award, as voted on by the Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) graduating class. White will attend the GCSW ceremony from 1-3 p.m., Friday in Cullen Performance Hall. 

At 4 p.m., Sunday, in the M.D. Anderson Library Pavilion, the UH Air Force ROTC will commission eight seniors as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force. These students are from UH, TSU and UH-Downtown and will become pilots, JAGs, intelligence officers, logisticians and acquisition officers. 

In a tribute to innovation and scholarship, David Ashley White, director of the Moores School of Music, will present a Smart Car built by Mercedes to one of three top graduates of the Moores School of Music on Thursday evening at a pre-graduation reception between 8 and 8:30 p.m. This automobile was purchased by John Moores at the Moores Society's Annual Dinner Concert Auction and was donated by him with the understanding that it would be given to a deserving student.