Read More UMBC News Blog Stories

May 8, 1998


Graduate School Commencement: 10 a.m.; Friday, May 22; UMBC Fieldhouse
Phi Beta Kappa Induction: 12 p.m., Tuesday, May 26; UC Ballroom
Undergraduate Commencement: 7 p.m.; Tuesday, May 26; Baltimore Arena

BALTIMORE- A full slate of commencement activities will give the UMBC community two days to celebrate student achievement. On May 26, an early afternoon ceremony in the UC Ballroom will celebrate the induction of UMBC's first Phi Beta Kappa members. More than 50 outstanding students have been invited to join the prestigious honor society whose charter was installed at the university on March 16.

Following the afternoon's Phi Beta Kappa festivities, UMBC's undergraduate commencement will begin at 7 p.m. at the Baltimore Arena. NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin will address more than 1,000 graduates and will receive an honorary doctor of science degree at the ceremony. Goldin, who became the ninth administrator in NASA's history in 1992, has worked to reform and revitalize America's space agency. His visit will be especially significant for UMBC students and faculty currently working on cooperative programs with NASA. These programs include the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, a partnership between NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and UMBC, which applies remote sensing technology towards understanding Earth systems from a global perspective; the GSFC/UMBC Research Fellows Program which serves as a model for information sharing between federal laboratories and universities; as well as several key faculty liaisons with NASA programs and developments.

Valedictorians Paul Reichardt, a physics and mathematics major, and David Scheraga, an English major, will address the audience before the conferring of degrees. Also at the undergraduate ceremony, Gaimei Woah-Tee, a senior computer science major killed in a traffic accident on campus on April 25, will posthumously be awarded a bachelor's of science degree.

For the second year in a row, UMBC will hold a separate commencement for graduate students. More than 100 master's and doctoral students will receive their degrees at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 22 in the UMBC Fieldhouse. Edwin Crawford of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents will be among those giving opening remarks at the ceremony.

For more information on commencement ceremonies, please call 410-455-3100 or visit Undergraduate student tipsheet headlines:

* Pre-Med Student Recovers from Rare Form of Leukemia and Now Plans to Find a Cure
* Trilingual Student Served in French Army in Germany and as Chef in Paris Restaurant
* Retired Army Colonel Returns for a Degree in Theatre
For more information on student profiles, please call 410-455-6885.



Contact: Kristen Campbell, 410-455-6885 or
For commencement information, please visit News

Pre-Med Student Recovers from Rare Form of Leukemia and Now Plans to Find a Cure

Ian Butler was given three weeks to live when diagnosed with Aplastic anemia, a rare form of leukemia, two years ago. Following a bone marrow transplant and months of treatment, he did recover and, after graduating on time with a biological sciences degree from UMBC, plans to earn his M.D./Ph.D. so he can work towards a cure for Aplastic anemia.

"There was really only one point during the whole treatment that I was depressed," the Baltimore resident says. After months of living in a sterile hospital room, Butler suddenly needed to see trees. "I couldn't risk infection by going outside, but there was an atrium on the first floor." Late that night he crept to the entryway of Johns Hopkins hospital, but a glass enclosure had been locked around the atrium. "That's the only time I cried."

During his senior year at UMBC, Butler has worked as a research assistant to the physician who treated him, and Hopkins officials have called on him to council other Aplastic anemia patients. "I've been really lucky throughout my life, but I almost thought my luck had run out," said Butler, who has been accepted to M.D./Ph.D. programs at Johns Hopkins and the University of California, San Francisco.

Trilingual Student Served in French Army in Germany and as Chef in Paris Restaurant

William Hauswald, a native of France who will earn a degree in Spanish from UMBC this year, has gained an international perspective during his years of study. The trilingual student spent a semester in Mexico last year, has traveled throughout Europe and has been studying in the United States for four years. "Americans have a lot of opportunities in education," he observes. "In Europe there are much stricter educational standards as far as what you can and cannot do." Before arriving in the United States, Hauswald served in the French army in Germany and as a chef in a world-renowned restaurant in Paris. He now hopes to earn a master's degree at UMBC and says, "I'd like to teach languages to immigrants in the United States or Europe." The Catonsville resident has already put his linguistic skills to work as a service representative at Visa International in Owings Mills.

Retired Army Colonel Returns for a Degree in Theatre

After serving as an oral surgeon in the U.S. Army for more than twenty years, Robert Nelson did an about face with his life. The retired Colonel had always been interested in theater and after performing in a play with the Maryland Stage Company, a professional company in residence at UMBC, Nelson decided to go back for another degree. "The other students saw me as sort of a father figure," he said. "They accepted me for what I was and we worked well together because we were all starting from scratch."

Nelson, who lives in Columbia, retired from the Army in 1987 and has been performing with local and Army theater troupes since 1982. Now hindered by arthritis, Nelson is limited in the types of roles he can play, but says, "I plan to continue acting in the area, I love it and it keeps me out of my wife's hair." Acting also runs in the family, one of Nelson's two grown sons is an actor in the Washington, DC area. "We performed together once and it was a great experience."

Posted by dwinds1 at May 8, 1998 12:00 AM