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April 8, 2004

Browning Brooks
(850) 644-4030

Vice President Cheney to Deliver FSU Commencement Address May 1
Florida Board of Governors chair to address graduates at April 30 ceremony

TALLAHASSEE — In what is sure to be the most memorable graduation ceremony at Florida State University, Vice President Dick Cheney will deliver the May 1 commencement address at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.

Cheney is the first U.S. vice president and highest-ranking government official ever to deliver a commencement address at FSU.

"We are honored and delighted to welcome Vice President Cheney to Florida State University, and we look forward to this historic event," said FSU President T.K. Wetherell.

Cheney will address graduates of the colleges and schools of Business; Education; Engineering; Human Sciences; Information Studies; Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts; Music; Nursing; and Social Work at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1.

"This is an exciting opportunity to hear from someone who has had great success in business and public service," said FSU Board of Trustees Chairman John Thrasher. "Mr. Cheney's leadership should serve as an inspiration to our graduates."

FSU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jim Smith agreed.

"While most of us don't remember our graduation speakers, I'm certain these students will remember the vice president spoke at theirs," Smith said. "It's significant that in these difficult times, Vice President Cheney would come to Tallahassee to speak to our students."

Florida Board of Governors chair Carolyn K. Roberts will address graduates of the colleges and schools of Arts and Sciences; Communication; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Social Sciences; Theatre; and Visual Arts and Dance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 30.

Cheney has had a distinguished career as a businessman and public servant, serving four presidents and as an elected official. Born in Lincoln, Neb., Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyo., and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wyoming. His career in public service began in 1969 when he joined the Nixon Administration, serving in a number of positions at the Cost of Living Council, the Office of Economic Opportunity and the White House.

Cheney served on President Gerald Ford's transition team and later as deputy assistant to the president. In November 1975, he was named assistant to the president and White House chief of staff, a position he held throughout the remainder of the Ford Administration.

After he returned to Wyoming in 1977, Cheney was elected to serve as the state's sole congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected five times and elected by his colleagues to serve as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987. He was elected chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1987 and elected House Minority Whip in 1988.

As Secretary of Defense from March 1989 to January 1993, he directed two of the largest military campaigns in recent history - Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. For his leadership in the Gulf War, Cheney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush in 1991.

Roberts, who lives in Ocala, is president of Roberts Real Estate, Inc. Governor Jeb Bush appointed her to the Florida Board of Education in 2001 and to the Board of Governors in 2003 where she now serves as chair.

She previously served on the Florida Board of Regents, the Shands Health Care Board of Directors and as chair of the University of Florida Foundation. Roberts received a degree in business from Florida Southern College in 1969.

Wetherell will preside over both the April 30 and May 1 ceremonies. About 2,900 of 4,200 graduating students will participate in the graduation exercises.

FSU's Panama City campus graduation will be at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) May 2 at the Panama City Marina Civic Center. U.S. Air Force Lt. General John H. Campbell, retired, who served as associate director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2003, will be the keynote speaker.

In other graduation activities:

  • The FSU College of Law will hold its commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. May 1 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. FSU law alumnus Eugene Stearns of Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson in Miami will be the speaker.

  • The FSU School of Social Work will hold its convocation at 4 p.m. April 30 in the Oglesby Union Ballroom. Florida Secretary of Children and Families Jerry Regier will deliver the keynote address.

  • The FSU School of Nursing will hold a 3 p.m. April 30 pinning ceremony at First Baptist Church. Sally Karioth, associate professor of nursing, will be the speaker.

  • The Air Force ROTC of FSU and Florida A&M University will have a joint commissioning ceremony for 22 cadets at 2 p.m. May 1 at the Student Life Building. Brig. Gen. Maria Owens, director for manpower and personnel for the joint staff, will speak.

  • FSU's Army ROTC will commission its 19 cadets at 2 p.m. May 1 at Miller Hall in University Center C. U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd will deliver the keynote address.