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Lehigh prepares for its 146th commencement

A social media grid will provide live updates and reactions as members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas.

Social media will once again complement coverage of Lehigh commencement ceremonies as members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas on Monday, May 19, in Goodman Stadium.

Encouraged by the success of last year’s social media grid and community engagement, University Communications and Public Affairs will once again provide live updates and reactions to this year’s celebration through an online social media grid.

The grid, which can be viewed at Inside Lehigh and at the 2014 commencement page, will feature tweets and Instagram posts from graduates, family, friends and alumni who use the #lehighgrad hashtag.

The university’s 146th commencement will begin at 10 a.m. in Goodman Stadium. Martin “Marty” Baron, a 1976 Lehigh alumnus and current executive editor of The Washington Post, will deliver the commencement address. He will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

A doctoral degree hooding ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center, and at 4 p.m., Dr. Arvind Sharma, a preeminent scholar of religions and prolific author, will address the graduating class at the university’s annual Baccalaureate service in Packer Memorial Church.

Sharma will join Baron in receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, as will Daniel E Smith Jr. ‘71, a widely recognized pioneer and leader in the optical networking industry. Finally, Dr. Martha M. McCarthy, Presidential Professor of Educational Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, will receive the honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree.

Advice for guests

Commencement guests should plan to arrive at Goodman Stadium and be seated no later than 9:30 a.m. to prevent traffic delays. The ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Those traveling to campus via Route 78 and exiting at PA-412 (Exit 67) should plan on extra travel time since construction may cause delays.

In the interest of making all guests as comfortable as possible, an indoor ceremony viewing site will also be available in Stabler Arena located south of the stadium. Shuttles will be available to transport guests between the stadium and arena during the ceremony. Guests who plan to view commencement from the indoor site are advised to park in the lots surrounding Stabler Arena.

For all other guests, general parking is available on Goodman Campus in the lots adjacent to Stabler Arena. Parking attendants will direct cars to parking areas that are located approximately 600 yards from the stadium. Individuals who require special parking or seating due to a disability can be accommodated. Additionally, shuttle service is available from the Stabler Arena handicapped parking area to the stadium.

For information regarding handicapped parking, seating or the shuttle service, please contacts the Office of University Events at (610) 758-3898 or inuday@lehigh.edu.

Distinguished speakers

During his time at Lehigh, the Washington Post’s Baron was a member of The Brown and White editorial staff and became editor-in-chief his junior year. He graduated from Lehigh with both Bachelor of Arts and MBA degrees.

He began his journalism career at the Miami Herald in 1976, serving as a state reporter and later as a business writer. In 1979, he moved to the Los Angeles Times, where he became business editor in 1983; assistant managing editor for page-one special reports, public opinion polling and special projects in 1991; and, in 1993, editor of the newspaper’s Orange County edition, which then had about 165 staffers.

In 1996, Baron moved to The New York Times and became associate managing editor responsible for the nighttime news operations of the newspaper in 1997. He was named executive editor at the Miami Herald at the start of 2000.

The next year, the Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage for its coverage of the raid to recover Elián González, the Cuban boy who was the center of a controversial immigration and custody dispute. In July 2001, Baron assumed leadership of the Boston Globe, which earned the prestigious public service Pulitzer in 2003 for its coverage of the concealment of sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church. The Globe was honored, according to the Pulitzer website, “for its courageous, comprehensive coverage ... an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national and international reaction, and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Over the course of his 37-career in the newspaper industry, Baron’s accomplishments have been recognized by his peers through numerous awards and honors, including being named Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2001, and Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation in 2004.

In April, Baron added more awards to this resume, as the Post won two Pulitzer Prizes in recognition of its work over the previous year. The paper earned the prestigious Pulitzer public service medal for its work exposing the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and another Pulitzer for reporter Eli Saslow’s eye-opening series about the struggles of Americans who receive food stamps.

Sharma, who will speak to graduates at the Baccalaureate service, has published more than 50 books and 500 articles in the fields of comparative religion, Hinduism, Indian philosophy and ethics, and the role of women in religion.

After graduating from Allahabad University, he joined the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) in 1962 and served in the Indian state of Gujarat until 1968.

In 1968, Sharma moved to the United States to pursue advanced studies at the University of Syracuse, where he obtained an M.A. in economics, followed by a Master in Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School. He was appointed a lecturer in Asian religions at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, in 1976, while pursuing a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University, which he obtained in 1978. He moved to the University of Sydney as a lecturer in 1980 and taught there until 1987.

In 1987, Sharma joined the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University as associate professor, where he subsequently succeeded Wilfred Cantwell Smith to the Birks Chair of Comparative Religion. Among his best known books are Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars from Each Tradition, Women in World Religions, and Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography, which was published in 2013 by Yale University Press.

Sharma, who received the 2013 Hindu American Foundation’s Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism, organized two global congresses on the World’s Religions After September 11 in 2006 and 2011, with a third being planned for 2016.  

The title of his talk at the Baccalaureate service will be “On Keeping an Open Mind.”

For more information about all of the weekend’s events, visit Lehigh’s commencement page.

Tweet with us during Commencement using #lehighgrad.

Photos by Christa Neu

Story by Tim Hyland

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014

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