Ranking Senate Republican to deliver Ball State's Commencement address

Topics: Administrative, Speakers

March 3, 2009

Richard Lugar and President Jo Ann Gora
President Jo Ann Gora and Richard Lugar stand in front of one of Ball State~~~s hybrid shuttle buses during Lugar~~~s 2007 visit to campus. Lugar was at Ball State to present Ball State~~~s Council on the Environment a Richard Lugar Energy Patriot Award.

Sen. Richard Lugar, Indiana's senior senator and now the U.S. Senate's ranking Republican, has agreed to serve as Ball State University's Commencement speaker on May 9.

The distinguished senator has been a leader since his childhood in Indianapolis. In the Boy Scouts, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the organization's highest rank. He graduated first in his class at Shortridge High School and Denison University. And later went on to attend Pembroke College in Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar.

As mayor of Indianapolis, he helped lead the adoption of Unigov, which consolidated city and county government. And in the U.S. Senate, he has played a lead role in the dismantling of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons around the world as well as provided key leadership to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

"Sen. Lugar's career achievements will form the basis of a powerful and inspiring message for our entire university community and will make the 2009 spring commencement one of our most memorable," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora.

Lugar's political career has been characterized by creative thinking and risk taking, demonstrating an entrepreneurial spirit for which Ball State is increasingly becoming known, she added.

During his tenure of public service, Lugar has proven to be an innovative leader regarding alternative fuels, new energy technologies and sustainability practices, and his energy initiative has reshaped the national debate about the relationship between national security and energy.

In recent years, the distinguished senator has been a frequent guest at Ball State. His most recent visit in 2007 was a result of Ball State's Council on the Environment (COTE) earning a Richard Lugar Energy Patriot Award.

Many of Ball State's sustainability initiatives fall in line with Lugar's goals. COTE is the longest-standing green committee in Indiana's higher-education community, and the university's two newest buildings, Park Hall and the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified at the silver level. The university's Board of Trustees also recently approved a proposal to replace the university's existing coal-fired stoker boilers with a heating and cooling system employing geothermal energy — the largest of its kind in the nation.

Honorary degree

This year's graduation exercises also will be marked by Ball State awarding internationally known architect and alumnus Craig Hartman with an honorary doctor of arts degree.

Hartman, who graduated in 1973, has earned critical acclaim for designing the International Terminal at the San Francisco Airport, the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Calif., and the American Embassy in Beijing. His work has earned more than 50 national and international honors, including seven National American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honors Awards and a 2000 Federal Design Achievement Award.

In 2001, Hartman earned the citation as the youngest recipient of the AIA Maybeck Award for lifetime achievement and three 2009 AIA National Design Honors Awards with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP.

On campus, Hartman was named as the College of Architecture and Planning's Distinguished Alumnus in 1998 and earned Ball State's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

Ball State's spring commencement takes place on the Old Quad and is traditionally attended by more than 14,000 faculty, staff, students, family and friends. Past speakers have included conductor Arthur Fiedler; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Broder; then-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop; jazz musician Ellis Marsalis; editor, educator and presidential advisor David Gergen; and Andrew Card, former White House chief of staff.

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