Inside USD

Class of 2010 Prepares for Graduation Weekend

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Jenny Craig Pavilion has provided its share of memorable moments through athletics contests, inspirational speakers, music concerts and alumni gatherings. This Saturday and Sunday, the University of San Diego’s all-purpose facility will host three Class of 2010 graduation ceremonies with 1,800 students sporting big smiles and eco-friendly gowns while family and friends cheer from their seats.

Hassan-headshotApproximately 650 students on Saturday, including Ghulam Ishaq Hassan, Amy Carney and Michael Curtin, will participate in the 1 p.m. Graduate Schools ceremony for recipients of master’s and doctoral degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, Hahn School of Nursing and Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Hassan (pictured, at right), is earning a master’s in peace and justice studies and aspires to work for human rights, specifically women’s rights, in his native Afghanistan. Carney, set to receive her PhD in nursing, did a research study on elder abuse accumulated through legal cases in San Diego. Curtin, who’ll earn an MBA, will work for NASA as a budget analyst through the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows Program.

USD alumna Cindy Basso Eaton, a member of USD’s Board of Trustees, will deliver the Graduate Schools commencement address. Eaton is president of Global Healing, an international humanitarian aid organization that creates self-sufficient medical programs in developing countries.

Two undergraduate celebrations, led by valedictorians Holly Lillis and Katy Ness in College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business Administration, respectively, take place on Sunday.

Lillis-headshotLillis (pictured, at right) will earn a bachelor’s degree in English at the 9 a.m. ceremony for 675 College of Arts and Sciences students. Lillis, an Honors Program participant who has a 4.0 grade-point average, was selected for the Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies. President of the Alcala Club and a National Society of Collegiate Scholars member, Lillis is a concert pianist, enjoys martial arts and restores and races classic cars. She has authored two published novels, “Punch and Blood” and “A Place to Call Home.” Proceeds from “A Place to Call Home” go to the children’s charity World Vision.

Other impressive graduates include 45 who have done so through the help of two federal-funded TRiO programs for first generation and income-eligible college students. Camron Proctor (physics) and Ana Barrios (sociology) are McNair Scholars.

Another inspiring moment will occur when Dan Wehrman, 54, receives his degree in political science. He left school early in 1978 because of financial and work issues, but 32 years later, the Oregon firefighter and business owner will add college graduate to his list of accomplishments.

Ambassador Gaddi H. Vasquez, the eighth U.S. Representative to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organizations, will give the CAS commencement address.

Ness-headshotNess, also a 4.0 student, will be among the 500 graduates participating in the 2 p.m. ceremony for the School of Business Administration and Engineering Programs. Ness (pictured, at right) has earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. She won several awards through her field of study, sorority and community service involvement and has been an academic standout all four years at USD. She’ll celebrate her accomplishment on Sunday, but will soon turn her attention back to a USD classroom where she’ll begin the master’s in accountancy program this summer. Upon completion, Ness has a full-time job offer as an audit accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in fall 2011.

“I could not be happier with my experience at USD,” Ness said. “USD offered me opportunities to become involved in many different activities outside of academics. Through these activities, I’ve truly met my best friends at USD and have memories I will treasure the rest of my life.”

Navy Midshipman Michael Sass, who will earn a degree in electrical engineering, is this year’s top San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) student. He has received the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Foundation’s Commissioning Award as the top NROTC student in the country. Sass, who will also be a part of Friday’s San Diego NROTC Commissioning Ceremony on campus, is one of 26 San Diego NROTC Marine and Navy officers who will graduate from USD this weekend.

Richard K. Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp and a member of USD’s Board of Trustees, will give the Business and Engineering commencement address.

In all, USD’s Class of 2010 totals 2,200 students, including 395 from the School of Law, which held its graduation on May 15. Additionally, there will be several recognition and receptions held on Friday as well as immediately following each graduation ceremony. See Commencement 2010 for more information.

— Liz Harman and Ryan T. Blystone

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