FAU Celebrates Spring 2016 Commencement

Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 3,190 degrees today and tomorrow during six commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium.

By kelsie weekes | 5/5/2016

Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 3,190 degrees today and tomorrow during six commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 149,070 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the University opened its doors in 1964.

Brent Burns, ’81, will receive the FAU Alumni Hall of Fame award on Thursday, May 5 during the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony. Burns is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., a diversified automotive corporation based in Deerfield Beach. As COO, Burns oversees JM Family’s three operating business units: Southeast Toyota Distributors, World Omni Financial Corporation, and JM&A Group. He also serves as a member of the company’s Executive Management Team, which directs the development and implementation of planning for future growth. Burns graduated from FAU in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and serves on the boards of Kids in Distress and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.

Richard DiMarchi, Ph.D., ’74, will receive an honorary doctoral degree on Friday, May 6 during the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony. DiMarchi is a leader in the field of drug discovery, and his contributions to diabetes treatment have benefited millions of people around the world. While a senior research scientist at Eli Lilly & Co., he discovered and developed Humalog®, a synthetic analog of the human hormone insulin that significantly reduces life-threatening complications for diabetes patients. He also recently developed a synthetic analog of the human hormone glucagon, which also plays a role in diabetes control. DiMarchi was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2015. He is currently the Cox Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences at Indiana University, where he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1979. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from FAU in 1974, and was inducted into the FAU Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999.

Spring commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:

  • Samantha Lloyd, 17, will graduate from FAU summa cum laude with a degree in English education on Thursday, May 5 at 9 a.m. Lloyd will become the first FAU High School student to graduate from FAU’s College of Education while dual-enrolled. Lloyd knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, and she quickly excelled in her English and writing courses at FAU. This semester, Lloyd completed a full-time internship at Eagles Landing Middle School teaching a classroom of sixth graders. She said the experience was eye opening as to how hard teachers work. Lloyd will continue her studies at FAU to work toward a master’s degree in communications. She hopes to eventually get involved in political communications, or become an English teacher.
  • Jessica Brandwein, 17, is FAU’s youngest graduate this semester. She will graduate summa cum laude from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science on Friday, May 6 at 9 a.m. with a degree in biological sciences. She will receive her diploma from FAU High School five days later. Brandwein has been researching bacteria on human skin that could one day be used as a method for forensic identification. She recently took home first place at the Broward Research Symposium for her research. Brandwein has already been accepted into a Ph.D. program for microbiology, which she will begin in the fall. She hopes to continue her research and eventually become a college professor.
  • Brati Das, 32, will become the first graduate of FAU’s Integrative Biology and Neuroscience (IBAN) program, an innovative Ph.D. program jointly instructed by Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI). Das will receive her doctorate on Friday, May 6 at 9 a.m. Das’ research centered on the fundamental principles that voltage gated calcium channels utilize to regulate synaptic function throughout the central nervous system. Das, originally from India, hopes to secure a post-doctoral fellowship position after graduation.
  • Patrick Martin, 30, will graduate from FAU summa cum laude on Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. with a degree in multimedia studies. Martin, a U.S. Army veteran, turned to writing to work through his war experiences. Before enrolling in FAU’s journalism program, Martin did five deployments overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. He still has a piece of shrapnel in his leg from when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) in Afghanistan. His most memorable deployment was his humanitarian trip to Haiti following a devastating earthquake in 2010. He said he was speechless over what he saw there, but it was rewarding to help people. While at FAU, Martin has served as a reporter for the University Press, FAU’s student-run newspaper. He also serves as a freelance reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers. Martin will work toward a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University beginning this fall. He hopes to one day become the editor of the New York Times.

Some interesting statistics regarding the spring graduating class include the fact that 86 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50. The oldest graduate is 70, and the youngest is 17. The graduates represent 58 countries.

For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at www.fau.edu.