Nobel Prize winner to speak at commencement ceremony

Published: December 7 2006

Category:Announcements, InsideUF

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nobel Prize winner and University of Florida graduate Robert Grubbs will return to UF to speak at the graduate degree commencement ceremony Dec. 15.

This is the first year UF has combined all graduate students into one commencement ceremony. It will be one of five fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 15, 16 and 22.

Grubbs graduated from UF with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1968, and did his postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

He taught at Michigan State University until 1978 when he accepted a position at the California Institute of Technology as a professor. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2005 for his work with metathesis, an organic reaction in which atoms are stripped from certain compounds and combined with others to create customizable molecules.

In addition to serving as the graduation ceremony’s keynote speaker, Grubbs will be presented with an honorary doctor of science degree. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.

Ceremonies for students receiving bachelor degrees will be held Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. depending on the college. Professional degree ceremonies will be held Dec. 16 for the College of Pharmacy and Dec. 22 for students in the Fredric G. Levin College of Law.

A total of 3,515 students are eligible to receive degrees in December, including 2,068 bachelor’s and 1,165 master’s and doctorates. Based on the number of caps and gowns reserved through UF bookstores as of Nov. 30, 1,761 students will be participating in a commencement ceremony.

Outstanding Four-Year Scholar awards will be presented during the undergraduate ceremonies to Matthew Bennett, Megan Crosmer, Sabrina Masters and Meg Taylor. Bennett will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony, and Crosmer will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

The Outstanding Female Leadership Award will be presented to Kelliann McDonald, of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. UF starting quarterback Christopher Leak will receive the Outstanding Male Leadership Award. He will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony, and McDonald will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Distinguished Educator awards will be presented to Betsy Seymour, Barbara Hicks, Susan Mikolajczyk, Loreen Francescani and Theresa Axford. Gerald Kluft, of the College of Dentistry, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Rebecca Brown and Amanda Davis will be awarded the Calvin A. VanderWerf Award graduate student teaching award. Linda Behar-Horenstein, Mark Brown, Goran Hyden, Mark Kilberg and P.K. Ramachandran Nair will be presented with Doctoral Mentoring Awards.

For more details concerning the fall 2006 commencement ceremonies visit the university registrar’s Web site at


Mindy Morris
Kim Pace,, 352-392-2404

Category:Announcements, InsideUF