University President Lawrence H. Summers will confer 6,706 degrees and 248 certificates to the Class of 2006 and the students of the graduate schools this morning at Harvard’s 355th Commencement exercises.
Broadcast journalist and writer Jim C. Lehrer
will deliver the ceremony’s keynote address and receive an honorary degree from the University. Lehrer currently anchors “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS and covered the Senate Watergate hearings with colleague Robert MacNeil—a collaboration that earned the duo an Emmy Award.
Lehrer has also moderated 10 nationally-televised debates during the last five presidential elections.
As a writer, he has penned 16 novels and three plays. His latest work of fiction—“The Phony Marine”—will be published in November.
Lehrer, who himself spent three years in the Marine Corps, will brave the elements once more today. The National Weather Service forecasts periods of showers, mainly before noon, with a daily high near 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a 90 percent chance of precipitation, and heavy rain is expected.
The College will award 1,641 degrees: 1,630 bachelor of arts degrees and 11 bachelor of science degrees, according to the Harvard News Office. The graduating class is composed of 812 women and 829 men.
Sixty-six candidates, who constitute 4 percent of the Class of 2006, earned summa cum laude diplomas, the highest degree bestowed by the College, in their fields of concentration. Fifty-five graduates will receive magna cum laude with highest honors, based on their entire coursework and overall grade point average, and 199 will be given magna cum laude in their fields of concentration.
Fourty-two will be awarded cum laude in general studies, while 492 will receive cum laude in their fields of concentration.
Students must have a grade point average of 3.679 or higher to be eligible for a magna cum laude degree or for a cum laude degree in general studies. Graduates must have a grade point average of 3.417 or higher to be eligible for a cum laude degree in their field.
Seven hundred seventy-six graduates will receive non-honors degrees, the highest such number at the College in at least a decade.
In an attempt to combat accusations of grade inflation at Harvard, the Office of the Registrar of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences released a new set of standards last year that was applied to the awarding of honors degrees to beginning with the Class of 2005.
The Commencement exercises will be broadcast on Cambridge Cable Channel 54 and Boston Cable Channel 12.
Harvard College leads the pack....
SIX (THOUSAND) DEGREES OF SEPARATION
HARVARD COLLGE: 1,641
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES: 949
BUSINESS SCHOOL: 904
LAW SCHOOL: 752
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: 661
KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: 534
EXTENSION SCHOOL: 464
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: 426
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN: 207
MEDICAL SCHOOL: 174
DIVINITY SCHOOL: 160
SCHOOL OF DENTAL MEDICINE: 82
—Staff writer Ying Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org