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Commencement 2003: Loyola awards 972 degrees, NASA Administrator and alumnus Sean OKeefe receives honorary degree

Loyola press release - May 27, 2003

Loyolas 92nd Spring Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 17, had all the right elements. Nine hundred and seventy-two beaming graduates, enthusiastic family members, a proud university community, and a prominent speaker.

At a morning ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences University President Bernard P. Knoth, S.J., presented NASA Administrator and 1977 graduate of Loyola, Sean OKeefe, with an honorary doctor of humane letters for 25 years of public service. Shortly after, OKeefe delivered an inspirational message to the graduates at the ceremony held in the Marquette Horseshoe, fronting the historic St. Charles Avenue.

OKeefe was appointed the 10th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on December 21, 2001. He leads the NASA team and manages its resources, as NASA seeks to advance exploration and discovery in aeronautics and space technologies. The administrator was widely praised for his leadership in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegration on February 1 and has been credited with restoring moral and sound management to NASA, which was nearly $5 billion over budget when he arrived.

Top undergraduates at the ceremony were Lisa LaFleur and Philip Watson, and top graduate student was Casey T. Stowe. LaFleur was awarded the Ignatian Award for Outstanding Senior Female and graduated with a bachelor of arts in music education with a minor in Catholic studies. Watson, who received his bachelor of arts in political science, was the Charles H. Bailey Ignatian Award recipient. He was president of the Jesuit Honor Society and plans to spend a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps immediately following graduation. Stowe was selected the first Outstanding Graduate Student. He received his master of business administration with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, the School of Law held its commencement Friday, May 16. The College of Music, College of Business Administration, and City College held their graduation Saturday evening.

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