For Release Upon Receipt - April 30, 2004
Contact: Kevin Carleton, 617/353-2240, email@example.com
SCIENTIST, BUSINESSMAN J. CRAIG VENTER TO SPEAK AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY COMMENCEMENT SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2004
(Boston, Mass.) — J. Craig Venter, a visionary scientist and entrepreneur who was a principal leader in the effort to decode the human genome, will deliver the main address at Boston University’s 131st commencement exercises Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. President ad interim Aram Chobanian announced the speaker this morning during the annual senior breakfast, held in the George Sherman Union.
Chobanian also announced that Archbishop Anastasios of Albania will deliver the annual baccalaureate address during a 9 a.m. service at Marsh Chapel on commencement morning. A priest, missionary and teacher from Greece, he was elected Archbishop of Albania in 1991 and has since rebuilt a church that had been all but obliterated by 45 years of brutal Communist dictatorships.
Venter and the Archbishop will receive honorary degrees, along with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, author and Nobel laureate Saul Bellow, entrepreneur and philanthropist Irwin Chafetz, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, Congressman Edward J. Markey, and Emmy Award-winning actress and BU alumna Alfre Woodard.
Venter was described in a December 2000 Time magazine article as the man who “jump-started a biological revolution.” A former staff member at the National Institutes of Health, he started his own private research firm with his wife, Dr. Claire Fraser, in 1994, the Institute for Genomic Research, and later founded Celera Genomics. Pushing forward the effort to sequence the human genome at an unprecedented pace through the use of new techniques, Venter cracked the code years ahead of expectations. Today he heads three not-for-profit organizations dedicated to exploring social and ethical issues in genomics, as well as seeking alternative solutions to energy needs through microbial sources.
“Craig Venter is one of the most remarkable scientists in the world at the present time,” said Chobanian. “He has been a true visionary and pioneer in genomic research, and it was his unconventional approach and sheer tenacity that was most responsible for the sequencing of the human genome.”
The student speaker at commencement will be Julie Claire Macé, an International Relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Great Barrington, Mass.
More than 5,000 students will receive degrees during the ceremony, and some 15,000 guests are expected to attend commencement exercises.
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