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May 11, 2006.

SMU to Award More Than 2,000 Degrees at 2006 Commencement

DALLAS (SMU) — Southern Methodist University will award more than 2,000 degrees at its 91st annual commencement convocation Saturday, May 20. Honorary degrees will be conferred upon economist Jeffrey Sachs and medical leader Kern Wildenthal. Dallas business leader H. Ross Perot Jr. will give the address at the universitywide ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in Moody Coliseum.

Jeffrey Sachs — economist and educator — has been called one of the world's most important leaders on globalization. After more than 20 years at Harvard University, where he received three degrees, Sachs joined Columbia University in 2002 as director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management. He is renowned both for his economic theories and his practical work with international agencies and national governments on problems related to poverty reduction, disease control, and debt cancellation in the world's poorest countries. In 2004 and 2005 Time magazine listed Sachs among the 100 most influential people in the world. His latest book, The End of Poverty, presents a blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty from the world by 2025. He will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from SMU.

Kern Wildenthal — administrator, professor, physician — has served for 20 years as president of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. During his presidency, UT Southwestern has more than tripled in size and has become one of the leading academic medical centers in the world. Four faculty members have received Nobel Prizes, and 17, including Wildenthal, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Under his leadership, more than 200 endowed chairs and professorships have been established; several new hospitals, outpatient facilities, and research centers have been added; and the endowment has increased significantly. He also has served the community on numerous civic, arts, and philanthropic boards. Wildenthal received his M.D. degree from UT Southwestern and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in England. He will receive the honorary Doctor of Science degree from SMU.

Commencement speaker H. Ross Perot Jr. is chairman of Hillwood Development Corporation, ranked among the top 10 developers in the United States. Two of its largest projects have been AllianceTexas, a 15,000-acre development northwest of D/FW International Airport, and the Victory development, including the American Airlines Center, in downtown Dallas. Perot also is chair of the board of Perot Systems Corporation, a global information technology and business solutions company. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he pursued his love of aviation by completing the first helicopter flight around the world in 1982. Perot has been a member of the SMU Board of Trustees since 1996 and serves on the Executive Board of the Cox School of Business at SMU.

After SMU's universitywide commencement ceremony on May 20, individual schools and departments will present diplomas in separate ceremonies during the afternoon and evening. For a schedule, see


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Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas with more than 10,000 students and offers degree programs through seven schools. More information about SMU is available at