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FAU Celebrates Spring Commencement

            BOCA RATON, FL (May 3, 2007) - Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 2,500 degrees today and tomorrow during five commencement ceremonies held in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.  The new graduates join more than 100,000 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the university opened its doors in 1964.

            “Commencement is a wonderful opportunity for FAU’s students, faculty, staff and the extended FAU family to celebrate the great accomplishments of these graduates,” said FAU President Frank T. Brogan.  “With the tools acquired through their success at FAU, these students will have the opportunity to achieve their part of the American dream.”

            During the Thursday, 9 a.m. commencement ceremony, Sherry Plymale, who served as both a founding member and chair of the FAU Board of Trustees, will be given the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion. Plymale was appointed to the board by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001. She served as vice chair during the first four years of the board’s existence and as chair for two years. Additionally, Plymale chaired the University wide committee that planned the inauguration festivities surrounding the installation of Frank T. Brogan as FAU’s fifth president. She remains an active and involved trustee.

In addition to this, a President’s Distinguished Service Medallion was awarded to Dr. Jack Guistwhite at the Thursday 1 p.m. ceremony.  Guistwhite came to FAU in 1963 to serve as the newly created university registrar and director of educational services.   Three years later, he was named director of inter-institutional relations, whose chief responsibility was to establish and maintain the University’s relationship with all other educational institutions, especially the community colleges. Guistwhite was a founding member and sponsor of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at FAU, and he planned and implemented the FAU/Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship Program, which has enabled hundreds of community college graduates to earn FAU degrees.

           R. David Paulison was given the FAU National Alumni Association Hall of Fame Award at the Thursday 1 p.m. ceremony, an award that recognizes distinguished alumni who demonstrate exceptional service and commitment to their profession or the community.   Paulison was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as under secretary of Federal Emergency Management and director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in April 2006, and confirmed by the Senate in May 2006. A native of Miami, Florida, Paulison earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida Atlantic University in 1970.

United States Senator Bill Nelson received the President’s Distinguished Service Medallion at the Friday 1 p.m. ceremony.   Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, after serving six years as a member of the Florida Cabinet. He currently serves on the Senate Commerce, Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging committees and is recognized as the leading congressional expert on NASA.

Spring commencement also highlighted the accomplishments of several outstanding graduates, including:

  • Tywannia Moorer, who has worked for St. Lucie County Public Schools for 14 years as a school aide and behavior technician.   Moorer realized her dreams of becoming a teacher could be attained when she moved to St. Lucie County from Detroit, Michigan more than 20 years ago.   Today, she will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Education with Magna Cum Laude honors.
  • Sometimes a person needs a fresh start in life.   That is what Winifred “Win” Clark received when she moved to Florida more than 30 years ago.   The 76-year old has worked at Winn-Dixie for almost 28 years full-time and was just promoted to assistant grocery manager.   To obtain her degree, she worked nights, usually not getting home until well after midnight.   Clark will be graduating today with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a 3.5 grade-point average.

Some interesting statistics regarding the spring graduating class include the fact that 102 of the 2,552 degree recipients were over the age of 50.  The oldest graduate was 88 and the youngest was 17.  The graduates represented 86 countries.

            For the convenience of family members and friends who could not attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings were cybercast at


Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the university serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching and research university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges - the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the  Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Harriet L. Wilkes  Honors College the Barry Kaye Colleges of Business, and the Colleges of Education, Engineering & Computer Science, and  Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs.

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