May 4, 1998

Contact: Jamie Lawson Reeves

(615) 322-2706

Vanderbilt observes Commencement Friday, May 8 - Cybercast will allow family and friends to view event live via the Internet


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Approximately 2,350 graduates are expected to take part in Vanderbilt University's Commencement exercises Friday, May 8. Following tradition, Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt will deliver farewell remarks to the Classes of 1998.

During the ceremony, the top scholar in each of the University's colleges and schools will be awarded a Founder's Medal, and 35 members of the Vanderbilt faculty and one administrator who are retiring this year will be honored with the title "emeritus" or "emerita" in recognition of their years of distinguished service.

For the first time, Vanderbilt's Commencement exercises will have a worldwide audience via the Internet. Friends and family who cannot attend the ceremony will be able to see their graduates receive their diploma during a live cybercast. Although a few universities are expected to do the same, Vanderbilt may be the only one using internal resources; a student group will be producing the cybercast.

All that is needed to view the Commencement cybercast is a computer, a modem and a Web browser; no special software will need to be downloaded. The cybercast can be found at The site will be updated continuously during the day with still photos as well.

The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. with the procession of graduates on Alumni Lawn. In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Memorial Gymnasium. The last time Commencement exercises were moved to the gym because of inclement weather was 1970.

At the conclusion of the Chancellor's address, the graduate school and professional school deans will award diplomas in separate ceremonies. Vanderbilt Board of Trust Member Michael L. Ainslie will address graduates of the Owen Graduate School of Management.

Approximately 2,850 students completed requirements for degrees in Vanderbilt's 8 schools and two colleges during the past year. Some students who completed their degree requirements last August or December may elect not to return for the annual Commencement exercises.


Vanderbilt University is a private research university of approximately 5,900 undergraduates and 4,300 graduate and professional students. Founded in 1873, the University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education and human development, engineering and music, and a full range of graduate and professional degrees.

For more news about Vanderbilt, visit the News and Public Affairs home page on the Internet at

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Document updated May 18, 1998.