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A graduating student behind a podium.

Separate commencements for individual colleges at the University of Minnesota began in the 1970s. Prior to that, there was a single ceremony for the whole U.

Commencements begin

Spring marks commencement ceremonies on the U's campuses

From eNews, May 5, 2007

After graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1967 and following a stint in the Navy, David Engel joined the University of Washington where he collaborated with engineers to develop a prototype for a new electrical toothbrush. In 1992, the Sonicare toothbrush was born. Engel is one of several alums returning to the University of Minnesota this month as Class of 2007 commencement speakers.

On the Twin Cities campus ceremonies start with the Medical School on Friday and close with the School of Dentistry on May 18. Commencement activities take place on Saturday, May 5, on the Crookston campus; Thursday, May 10, and Saturday, May 12, at Duluth; and May 12, as well, in Morris. Each academic year the University of Minnesota confers about 10,000 degrees. (The Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts also hold commencement ceremonies in December.)

Here is a sampling of commencement speakers: Michael Osterholm, director of the U's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and associate director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, will speak on Friday, May 4, at the Medical School ceremony (2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Northrop Auditorium).

Former Gopher basketball and NBA standout Trent Tucker will speak on Saturday, May 5, at the College of Continuing Education ceremony (10 a.m. Northrop Auditorium).

Edward Toussaint Jr., Chief Justice, Minnesota Court of Appeals, on Saturday, May 12, at the Law School ceremony (10 a.m. Northrop Auditorium).

John Bul Dau, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" featured in the acclaimed film "God Grew Tired of Us" will speak on Sunday, May 13, at the College of Liberal Arts ceremonies (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Northrop Auditorium).

Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes, Inc. and editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, will address graduates on Monday, May 14, at the Carlson School of Management commencement (graduate students 9 to 10:30 a.m.; undergraduates noon to 2 p.m. Northrop Auditorium).

For a complete list of commencement events and speakers, see Crookston, UMD, Morris, or Twin Cities.


U alums and the economy Data collected from the recent "Connecting With Our Alumni" survey reveal that University of Minnesota graduates play a major role in the economic vibrancy of their communities. It's estimated that survey respondents have started 19,000 companies that employ some 1.1 million workers in all 50 states and in 63 foreign countries. An impressive 86 percent of those businesses are still operating, with projected annual revenues of $230 billion.

To read more about the survey results, see Surveying thealumni landscape."