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Billie Jean King sends off class of 2011 at UVM’s 207th commencement

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Tennis legend Billie Jean King served up three pieces of advice to grads at Sunday’s commencement ceremony: No. 1: Learn how to learn. No. 2: Relationships are everything. No. 3: Be a problem solver.”Study history,” King said, elaborating on her first point. “The more you know about history, the more you know yourself.” One of Life magazine’s 100 most important Americans in the 20th century, King changed history when, in 1973, she beat former champion Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes, sending a strong message for gender equality at a time when, King noted on Sunday, women couldn’t get their own credit cards.On her second point — relationships are everything — King told graduates, “You’ll never know how you’ll touch another person’s life or how they’ll touch yours.” As an example, she told the story of meeting Elton John. Although both were initially too shy to say hello (a fact that seemed impossible to King, who idolized the musician), they were introduced when they attended the same party weeks before King’s fateful match against Riggs and became close friends, remaining so today.Celebrities and stars aside, King said, everyone needs “she-roes and heroes,” adding that professors, parents, siblings and coaches are among the most important people in our lives.  Toward the end of her remarks, King cited Nelson Mandela as an example of how to live life as a problem solver. Visiting his cell on Robben Island, said King, who has herself worked on behalf of social change and equality for women and those in the LGBT community, was among the most profound experiences of her life.Closing out her time at the podium, King pulled out a racket, and with Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” playing on the speakers — a song he dedicated to her — she lobbed more than a dozen tennis balls to the crowd.Approximately 8,000 people gathered to celebrate this year’s commencement, the 207th in the university’s history. Originally scheduled to take place on the University Green, the ceremony was moved inside to the Multipurpose Facility in the Athletic Complex — not, as board chair Robert Cioffi quipped in his opening remarks, to make King feel more at home on the indoor tennis courts, but because record rainfall this spring had left the Green too soggy to accommodate the event.In his comments, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin noted this year’s extreme weather in Vermont — from a long, cold winter to this spring’s historic flooding of Lake Champlain — as a palpable reminder to students of the “responsibility and obligation of dealing with climate change.”President Daniel Mark Fogel’s remarks celebrated the student efforts that have made UVM what it is today, from a fledgling recycling program 20 years ago to student activism that “pushed the campus toward levels of diversity that some would have never thought possible.””Hold on,” Fogel said, “to what you feel now — the optimism and energy, the open mind and sense of possibility of a new college graduate.”At this year’s ceremonies, approximately 3,097 graduates received diplomas, including 2,475 bachelor’s, 392 master’s, 97 doctoral and 111 M.D. degree recipients, in addition to 22 post-baccalaureate certificates. Degree recipients hail from an estimated 43 states and 19 countries. Approximately 1,235 graduates are from Vermont. The graduating class includes an expected 229 African, Latino/a, Asian and Native American (ALANA) and bi/multi-racial students.In addition to King, the university conferred honorary degrees on seven other individuals who have had a positive impact on the state, university and nation: Letitia C. Biddle, Major General Michael D. Dubie, Bruce Lisman, Keith M. Miser, Dr. Thomas J. Sullivan, Professor Emerita Marion Brown Thorpe, and Simon Pearce. Read full bios of each of the degree recipients.During the ceremony, the UVM Alumni Association presented the annual George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching to Stephanie Kaza, professor of environmental studies. Kaza, who has been actively engaged in campus sustainability initiatives to reduce waste, conserve energy and promote environmental values, teaches courses with a focus in the environmental humanities.Three faculty members were added to the ranks of University Distinguished Professor: Jerold Lucey, professor of pediatrics; Brooke Mossman, professor of pathology; and Susan Wallace, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. The distinction, begun in 2009, carries with it rights to use the title for the duration of their careers at UVM; an annual stipend for scholarly pursuits; and service as an informal advisory board to the university administration.Eight students were honored with five university awards. Claire Chevrier won the Mary Jean Simpson Award, honoring the senior woman who exhibits the highest qualities of leadership, academic competence and character; Bryce Jones won the F.T. Kidder Medal, honoring the senior man ranking first in character, leadership and scholarship; Jason DePatie and Kimberley Davy won the Class of 1967 Award, presented to seniors who best exhibit leadership, academic competence and character, and who have earned the respect of faculty and fellow students; Briana Martin and Kofi Mensah won the Keith M. Miser Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding service to the university; and Gregory Herman and Haylley Johnson won the Elmer Nicholson Achievement Prize, recognizing the greatness of the students’ UVM experiences and the expectation that they will make a major contributions in their fields of interest. Source: UVM. 5.23.2011last_img read more

Spain virus death toll tops 4,000

first_imgPrime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose wife is infected with the virus, has said this is the country’s most difficult moment since its 1936-39 civil war.”Only the oldest, who knew the hardships of the civil war and its aftermath, can remember collective situations that were harsher than the current one. The other generations in Spain have never, ever had to face as a collective something so hard,” he said when he imposed the state of emergency on March 14.Spain’s demographics partly explain why it has been one of the worst-affected nations. The country has one of the longest life expectancies in Europe and the pandemic has taken a high toll on its large elderly population, who are especially vulnerable to the disease. The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.It was a 19 percent increase on figures released Wednesday by the authorities in Spain, which has the world’s second highest death toll from the disease after Italy.The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188, the ministry said. Topics :center_img Despite a national lockdown imposed on March 14, which parliament on Thursday agreed to extend until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad. But the rise in the number of new deaths was smaller than that recorded on Wednesday when the figure rose by 738 or 27 percent.Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 17,166 infections — just under a third of the total — and 2,090 deaths, or 51 percent of the national figure. last_img read more

TRUE UNITY: Trinidad and Tobago governments sign deal for airlines merger

first_img Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Share NewsRegional TRUE UNITY: Trinidad and Tobago governments sign deal for airlines merger by: – May 27, 2011center_img 25 Views   no discussions Share PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC- The Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica governments Thursday hailed the agreement allowing for the Port of Spain-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to take over the operations of Air Jamaica as true sense of economic integration within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).At a brief signing ceremony here, Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw said Kingston was “therefore hopeful for a very very long and fruitful relationship.“But perhaps, just perhaps, this merger between Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica will indicate to the region the true sense of economic integration. That there are other things we can do in this region, this therefore should be the beginning of so many other areas of partnership”.His Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Winston Dookeran said Caribbean airline will now “have legal access to all the routes that were being flown by Air Jamaica giving it an opportunity to expand in the global arena”.He said the agreement will also allow Caribbean Airlines to claim “it is the designated air carrier for Jamaica in the world at large”.In April last year, the Bruce Golding government assumed all financial liabilities up to the end of that month for Air Jamaica with CAL assuming the financial risk of continuing Air Jamaica’s activities from May 1, 2010.Under the agreement, the Jamaica government will own 16 per cent of the Trinidad-based CAL while Port of Spain will spend an estimated US$49.2 million to facilitate the expansion of CAL, which took over r five of Air Jamaica’s profitable routes last year.last_img read more