April 24, 2000

CONTACT: Ward Mullens





YPSILANTI - President Bill Clinton will deliver the keynote address at Eastern Michigan University's commencement ceremony April 30, 1:30 p.m., Convocation Center.

Dr. James P. Comer, EMU's John W. Porter Distinguished Professor of Urban Education, will be the commencement speaker at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Approximately 2,500 students, representing Eastern Michigan University's five colleges, are eligible to participate in the commencements.

President Clinton and EMU President William E. Shelton, who will retire in June, will be given honorary degrees. Clinton will receive an honorary doctorate of public service. Shelton and Comer each will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

The presidential visit marks the second time in four years that Clinton has been to Eastern Michigan University. He came to EMU's Bowen Field House in October 1996 to make a major policy announcement. Clinton is the only president to visit EMU while still in office.

Every year the White House selects three higher education institutions to visit during commencement. Along with Eastern Michigan, the president will visit Carleton College in Minnesota (June 10) and the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. (May 17).

EMU continues its tradition of having top federal government officials as commencement speakers. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, who will introduce President Clinton April 30, was the commencement speaker at EMU in 1996. Slater ('77) is an alumnus of EMU. Dr. Richard Riley, secretary of education, was the commencement speaker in 1998 and Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, was the commencement speaker in 1997.

"This is very exciting for Eastern Michigan University and the Ypsilanti community," said Ron Miller, special projects manager for EMU. "But it will not be a typical commencement."

What will be unique is the level of security surrounding the president's visit. Metal detectors will be used and everyone attending and participating in each ceremony will have to go through the detectors. Everyone also will need to have some form of picture identification and be able to present it if asked. Cameras will be allowed in the Convocation Center, but all other hand-held item will not be allowed in the building.

Tickets for commencement are not available to the public. Only graduates can obtain tickets.