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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans to deliver keynote address at The University of Texas at Austin

Donald L. Evans, the 34th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will deliver the keynote address at The University of Texas at Austin’s 121st Spring Commencement at 8 p.m., May 22 on the university’s South Mall.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Donald L. Evans, the 34th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will deliver the keynote address at The University of Texas at Austin’s 121st Spring Commencement at 8 p.m., May 22 on the university’s South Mall.

There are 8,061 students eligible to receive their degrees this spring, including 5,018 undergraduates and 3,043 graduate and professional students.

The university-wide commencement ceremony, which is open to the public, will be preceded by a concert beginning at 7 p.m. In case of rain, the evening ceremony will be moved to the Frank C. Erwin Center at 15th and Red River streets.

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university, will preside over the ceremony, which will be preceded earlier in the day and on the previous day by college and school convocations.

Evans, a former businessman in the oil and gas industry, is a recipient of The University of Texas at Austin Distinguished Alumnus Award and is a former member and chairman of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System. As secretary of the Department of Commerce, he oversees a diverse cabinet agency with about 40,000 workers and a $5.8 billion budget focused on promoting American business at home and abroad. Evans worked on behalf of Bush’s successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1994 and 1998 and was chairman of the Bush/Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.

Banners, maces, theatrical lighting and the grand procession of degree candidates will be among the special features of commencement. The traditional singing of “The Eyes of Texas” and a fireworks display from the Tower will be a part of the grand finale. The evening will include performances by The University of Texas Graduate Percussion Quartet, The University of Texas at Austin Wind Ensemble, The University of Texas at Austin Chamber Singers and The University of Texas at Austin Concert Chorale.

Public seating for the ceremony will be available on a first come, first served basis. Standing will not be allowed in outdoor areas configured for seating. Guest seating will be provided in adjacent indoor locations beginning at 6 p.m. These sites will feature a live video telecast in an air-conditioned setting. Commencement officials will be available to direct guests to indoor viewing areas, including Hogg Auditorium; Flawn Academic Center, Room 21; Batts Hall Auditorium, Jessen Auditorium (Rainey Hall 2.104), University Teaching Center, Room 2.112A; W. C. Hogg Building, Room 1.120 and other locations to be designated.

Services for people with disabilities will be provided, including listening assistance devices.

Parking for commencement activities is free in designated areas on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of spaces marked “At All Times.” University parking garages and most surface lots are available.

All degree candidates participating in the evening Commencement on May 22 are required to present a ticket when lining up for the procession. Tickets are available at the Erwin Center and the Performing Arts Center box offices. Tickets are for degree candidates only and are free of charge. No tickets are required for guests. Tickets are not available by phone. They must be picked up in person by presenting a UT ID.

The Office of Public Affairs has set up a phone number, 512-232-9999, to provide general information about the main graduation ceremony, college and school convocations and updated weather reports. The number will be available beginning May 21. Additional commencement information is available on the Commencement 2004 Web site.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.