Daily Egyptian

SIU announces spring commencement speakers

Streamers fall Saturday, May 16, 2015, in the SIU Arena marking the end of the afternoon commencement ceremony. (Daily Egyptian file photo)

Streamers fall Saturday, May 16, 2015, in the SIU Arena marking the end of the afternoon commencement ceremony. (Daily Egyptian file photo)


A U.S. representative and a retired U.S. Air Force general will speak at commencement in less than two weeks, the university announced Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, co-chair of the Democratic Party and Communications Committee, and Gen. Larry O. Spencer, who retired as vice chief of staff after nearly 40 years in the U.S. Air Force, will speak at the graduations May 13.

Bustos was a journalist in the Quad Cities and an East Moline City Council member before she went to work in Congress. Her father, the late Gene Callahan, a former journalist, political adviser and SIU Board of Trustees member, will receive a distinguished service award posthumously. Callahan, who worked for top Illinois politicians, including late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, died in 2014 at the age of 80.

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Spencer, an SIU alumnus, will receive one of two honorary degree awards. He “organized, trained and help equip nearly 690,000 active-duty Air National Guard, Reserve and civilian airmen around the world,” officials said in a news release.

As of Monday, there are 2,215 students set to graduate during the ceremony, more than half of which are for bachelor’s degrees, the university said. About the same time in 2016, the university said there were 2,852 candidates for degrees, and in 2015, there were 3,134.

— 9 a.m. – College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, School of Medicine. Bustos is the commencement speaker. Susan McClary, professor and head of musicology at Case Western Reserve University and an SIU graduate, will receive a Doctor of Music Arts honorary degree.

— 1:30 p.m. – College of Business, College of Education and Human Services. Bustos will again be the keynote speaker. Greg Cook and Dorothy A. “Dede” Lingle Ittner will each receive distinguished service awards.

— 5:30 p.m. – College of Applied Sciences and Arts, College of Engineering, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. Spencer is the commencement speaker and he will receive the honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service.

The SIU School of Law will hold its commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. May 12 in Shryock Auditorium. U.S. District Judge Staci M. Yandle is the keynote speaker for that ceremony.

The ceremonies are open to the public and can be watched online here and here.

The Daily Egyptian’s news desk can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3397.

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