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JMU to honor December graduates

jamesmadisonlogopurplepcNearly 900 students will receive their academic degrees at James Madison University’s Dec. 19 commencement ceremony, when the university welcomes operatic singer Denyce Graves as guest speaker.

Graves is recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars. She is the recipient of the Grand Prix du Concours International de Chant de Paris, the Eleanor Steber Music Award and a Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. Graves recently joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

In 2001 following the tragic events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Graves was invited by President George W. Bush to participate in the National Prayer Service in Washington’s National Cathedral in which she sang “America, the Beautiful” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Graves will be returning to JMU after celebrating the opening of the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance with a concert in 2011. President Jonathan R. Alger will present Graves with an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts degree.

Alger will confer degrees to approximately 720 undergraduate students and 166 graduate students – 150 master’s, seven educational specialist and nine doctoral – at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Dec. 19. Doors open at 8 a.m. for the 10 a.m.ceremony.

Due to an increase in the number of graduates, tickets are now required for admission to the Dec. 19 commencement ceremony. Each graduate will be allotted up to six tickets. An overflow viewing area will be set up in Wilson Hall where family and friends who do not have tickets can watch the ceremony live. Parking will be available in the Warsaw Parking deck and shuttles will be running. The ceremony will also be streamed live online.

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As part of the commencement celebrations, 95 nursing students – 75 BSN and 20 RN-BSN graduates – will receive pins signifying their entrance into the nursing profession at the Nursing Convocation in the Festival Conference and Student Center at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18.

Three ROTC cadets will receive commissions as Army second lieutenants at 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, during a ceremony in Memorial Hall Auditorium.