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President Bush to speak at Ohio State commencement

COLUMBUS – The White House today confirmed that President George W. Bush will speak to spring quarter graduates at The Ohio State University June 14 at Ohio Stadium.

Approximately 5,500 graduates will receive their degrees during the ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

“Ohio State is honored to have President Bush address our graduates, who are poised to serve the nation as highly educated women and men,” said university President William Kirwan. “At such an important time in our history, we are gratified that the president has chosen to accept our students’ invitation. I am sure his words and appearance will mean a great deal, and be a memorable experience, for our graduates.” Although he receives many invitations, President Bush will deliver just two commencement speeches this year: The U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Ohio State. Ohio State is the first public university President Bush has agreed to visit and give the commencement speech.

Eddie Pauline, president of Undergraduate Student Government, says the class of 2002 will remember their graduation as a very special event. “We invited the president to speak here because we are living in an extraordinary time and he can provide insight and perspective for graduates. Ohio State students will forever be connected to one other and to this great university by their memories. And this will be an unforgettable day for all of us.”

Bush is the second sitting president to speak at the university. Gerald Ford spoke to summer quarter graduates shortly after ascending to the presidency in 1974 after Richard M. Nixon’s resignation. Bush’s father spoke to spring quarter graduates in June 1983 when he was Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

Ohio State is unique among major universities in having one, university-wide commencement each quarter where each graduate receives his or her actual diploma. Commencements occur each quarter, but the spring commencement is the university’s largest ceremony, with approximately 5,500 graduates and 40,000 guests.

Admission tickets will be required for all guests. Tickets will provide general admission for family and guests of graduates who are participating in commencement.

Guests are asked to arrive at Ohio Stadium by 6 a.m., and enter through gates on the east side of the facility. To assure that all graduates are assembled and guests are seated in time for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, admittance cannot be guaranteed after 8:30 a.m.

Graduates may pick up one ticket per guest at the St. John Arena ticket office, 410 Woody Hayes Drive, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 10, 11 or 12. Tickets are free, but graduates must present a photo ID to obtain tickets. Graduates do not need a ticket.

Guests are strongly encouraged to park on West Campus and use the shuttle service. Graduates and guests should refer to the commencement website for up-to-date information. The address is

Commencement Honors
Four people will receive commencement honors. The honorary Doctor of Science award will be presented to Walter E. Massey, president of Atlanta’s Morehouse College. The honorary Doctor of Business Administration will be presented to George M. Steinbrenner III, principal owner of the New York Yankees and partner in the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. Marta Tienda, director of the Office of Population Research, will receive an honorary Doctor of Social Science award. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Richard M. Hill, professor and dean emeritus of The Ohio State University College of Optometry.