Lincoln Chafee to deliver URI’s 121st Commencement address

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Former senator, three others to receive honorary degrees

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 11, 2007 — Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee will deliver the University of Rhode Island’s 121st commencement address during the University’s undergraduate ceremonies Sunday, May 20. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Although he lost his Senate seat last fall, Chafee didn’t lose the respect of Rhode Islanders on both sides of the political aisle. Known for his common sense, he consistently voted his conscience as illustrated by his opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Many URI students hailed his courage for standing by his convictions.

Statesmanship is a family legacy. His family tree contains three Rhode Island governors, including his father, the late John H. Chafee, who became a U.S. Senator.

In 1992, Lincoln Chafee became the first Republican elected mayor of Warwick in 32 years. He was re-elected to the post in 1994, 1996, and 1998. Chafee was appointed to fill his father’s unexpired Senate term in 1999 and was elected to the Senate the following year. A steward of the environment and promoter of fiscal responsibility, Chafee is a teaching fellow at The Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

• Sebastian P. Musco of Newport Beach, Calif. will receive a Doctor of Arts degree at the undergraduate ceremonies. One of 10 children of Italian immigrant parents, Musco returned to Rhode Island after serving in World War II and went to work in precious metals. He moved to California during the ‘70s where he founded Gemini Industries, which developed breakthrough technology to recover precious metals from auto catalysts for the automotive industry. In 1979, Gemini expanded its operations to process spent catalysts from the petroleum industries. Today, the company has clients representing every major oil company. Musco and his wife Marybelle share a love of music. Thanks to their generosity, the University has been able to enrich its cultural offerings and provide scholarships to talented voice students.

Graduate Ceremonies, May 19

The University’s graduate ceremonies will be held in the Ryan Center Saturday, May 19.

Joia Mukherjee M.D., M.P.H. of Brookline, Mass. will deliver the graduate address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Mukherjee’s visit to Calcutta, India with her family when she was 8 inspired her life’s work. Shocked to see a woman with leprosy, the young girl wasn’t reassured when her mother told her that she would not suffer the same fate, as only the poor got the disease. Instead of feeling reassured, she was outraged that the disease affected only the poverty stricken.

Mukherjee’s strong sense of social justice propelled her to pursue training in internal medicine, pediatrics, and infectious disease, as well as public health, so that she could use those skills to combat the AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics in developing countries.

Since 2000, she has served as medical director of Partners in Health, an international charity affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which has clinical programs in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, and inner-city Boston.

• Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao— C.R. for short—will receive a Doctor of Science degree. He is one of the top three statisticians in the world, a household name to statisticians, mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Results of his pioneering and innovative work carry his name: the Cramer-Rao bound, the Rao-Blackwell theorem, the Fisher-Rao metric, Rao distance, and Rao’s orthogonal arrays, which are widely used in quantitative research. In addition, many of Rao’s students have become famous themselves.

Rao was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, United Kingdom and is one of 11 Life Fellows of King’s College, Cambridge. In the United States, he was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2002, he received this country’s National Medal of Science, the government’s highest scientific prize.

Currently the Eberly Professor Emeritus of Statistics and director of The Center for Multivariate Analysis at Pennsylvania State University, Rao continues to promote the use of statistics in national security, industry, business, and policy in Third World countries.

Link here for more about Commencement.