UNK- The highest ranking academic officer in the University of Nebraska system, Dr. Linda Pratt, will address University of Nebraska at Kearney summer graduates in ceremonies on Friday, July 27.
Dr. Pratt, who is the NU executive vice president and provost, will address 241 UNK graduates.
This is the largest group of summer graduates to walk across the stage since 1994. Of those, 142 will receive graduate degrees. Those receiving graduate degrees represent the second largest number of graduate students on record to take part in summer graduation.
According to Robyn Schoenebeck, UNK graduation coordinator, 112 of the graduate degree recipients are earning their graduate degrees in education.
The 10 a.m. ceremonies will take place in the UNK Nebraskan Student Union.
Dr. Pratt has been NU's highest academic officer for six years. She joined the faculty in the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Department of English in 1968. From 1995 to 2005, she was department chair. She also served as interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 2000 to 2001.
Among her accomplishments, as executive vice president and provost, has been her leadership in implementing the new Student Information System, a project that included all four NU campuses and the three state colleges. Dr. Pratt also worked with faculty to draft the proposal for the new Buffett Early Childhood Institute and proposed the Thompson Learning Communities.
She has served on numerous national boards and committees and is widely published in areas such as the financing of higher education, academic freedom, challenges facing part-time faculty and other issues in academe.
Dr. Pratt earned her bachelor's degree from Florida Southern College, and her master's and doctoral degrees from Emory University.
Among her honors is the Emory University Distinguished Alumni Award and a Distinguished Teaching Award from NU.
She has served as the national president of the American Association of University Professors and the Association of Departments of English, and has chaired the university-wide Gender Equity Task Force, the UNL Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women, and the National Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee of the Modern Language Association of America.
The Friday commencement ceremonies will open with the National Anthem, performed by a quartet led by Dr. James Payne, UNK music professor, on trumpet. Student members of the quartet will include locals: Vergil Nelson of Kearney and Jonathan Hunzeker and Matthew Stubbs of Minden.
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen will give the welcome, and Cameron Deter, UNK student regent from Red Oak, Iowa, will give greetings on behalf of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Vanessa Leeper Jones of Colorado Springs, Colo., will give graduate reflections for the Class of 2012. Jack Garrison, associate professor in the UNK Department of Music and Performing Arts/Theatre, will serve as grand marshal.
For those unable to attend commencement in person, the event will be available as a webcast. The information for the webcast is located on the UNK homepage, or by visiting www.unk.edu/about/commencement/ In addition, individuals on campus can view ceremonies via Campus Cable TV, Channel 20-1.