Temple Times Online Edition
    May 2, 2007
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President Hart announces changes to Commencement, names professor as speaker

President Ann Weaver Hart is looking forward to her first Commencement at Temple University and is planning some new Temple traditions.

First, the professional schools’ diploma ceremonies will become a true graduation for those students, while the universitywide ceremony will focus on undergraduate and graduate degree recipients. Members of the Board of Trustees will confer degrees upon graduates of the Beasley School of Law, the Kornberg School of Dentistry and the schools of Medicine and Podiatry at their individual ceremonies.

Also, Hart has named Professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek as a Commencement speaker for the 2007 ceremony.

“I think it is important that a leading member of Temple’s faculty be an integral part of the ceremony at which we celebrate the academic accomplishments of our students,” Hart said. “I hope that this becomes an annual part of Commencement, and I can think of no one better to begin this new tradition than Kathy Hirsh-Pasek.”

Hirsh-Pasek, the Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Temple Infant Lab, is recognized internationally for her research in early childhood cognition and language development. In 1999, she was honored with Temple’s Great Teacher Award.

“I am honored to accept this invitation from President Hart,” Hirsh-Pasek said. “As teachers, we work hard to prepare our students to be lifelong learners, and our students work hard to acquire knowledge and master skills. I am looking forward to congratulating our students and, who knows, maybe imparting just one more lesson before we send them into the world.”

Upon winning Temple’s Great Teacher Award in 1999, Hirsh-Pasek said: “Teaching is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. And I have tremendous passion for it …. Galileo said, ‘You cannot teach people anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves.’”

Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and others. She is the author or co-author of numerous scholarly papers and academic texts, as well as two popular-press books: “How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life” and “Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn — and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less.”

Hirsh-Pasek will be joined as a Commencement speaker by undergraduate Jameel U. Rush of the Fox School of Business and by President Hart.

For next year and beyond, Hart will ask the Council of Deans to examine Temple’s Commencement activities and consider several possible changes for future years, including processes for selecting commencement speakers, (re)-instituting the practice of offering honorary degrees, reviewing the timeline for performing “graduation checks” and the possibility of distributing diplomas by mail.

For more information about Temple's 120th COmmencement exercises on May 17, 2007, visit the Commencement web site.