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Albright to speak at UA graduation

By Anthony C. Braza
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 30, 1999
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Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright testifies about the situation in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington last Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless will each address a group of University of Arizona graduates during the May 15 ceremony.

Spring commencement will be remembered as the day secretaries of state descended on the UA.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless will each address a group of University of Arizona graduates during the May 15 commencement ceremony. Terence Burke, associate to UA President Peter Likins, yesterday confirmed that both officials agreed to speak.

Burke said the request for Albright was made after an employee in the president's office investigated the possibility.

"My understanding is there was a discussion with a member of Albright's staff, and they made it seem (she) would not automatically turn it down," Burke said.

Albright will address the afternoon graduation group and Bayless, who is flying to Kazakhstan that afternoon, will address the morning ceremony.

The UA had a different speaker for each ceremony last spring as well. UA alum and actor Greg Kinnear spoke in the afternoon and NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin spoke to the morning group.

The ceremonies are structured so students in half of the UA's colleges graduate in the morning session and half graduate in the afternoon session. Burke said he did not expect students to switch sessions because of speaker preference.

"We couldn't (notice) any difference in attendance (last year)," Burke said. "No reason to expect any impact. People want to graduate with their friends and their colleges."

Meredith McDonald, a UA English senior, is scheduled for the morning ceremony. She said she would prefer to hear Albright speak, but still expects to hear a good speech.

"I think she (Bayless) will do a good job. It doesn't matter. It will be great."

Sherry Peabody, a library science graduate student, will be attending the afternoon ceremony. She said she was happy her college was slated to participate in the afternoon session.

"I am glad I have Madeleine Albright," Peabody said. "I think it sounds really great, especially for Madeleine Albright."

Albright's office could not confirm the content of her speech, and neither could Bayless' office.

"We just accepted a day or two ago, so no speech has been written yet," said Connie Copeland, Bayless' scheduler.

Copeland said that because Bayless was going to Kazakhstan, she was "coming for the speech and leaving immediately after." Karen Kirchgasser, Albright's press secretary, said that although plans could change, she did not think Albright was scheduled for any other appearances in Tucson or at the UA.

"She is just coming to give the commencement address," Kirchgasser said.

Burke, who also thought Albright's stay "would be brief," said Likins makes the final decision on commencement speakers. Burke said Likins does consider suggestions from the Associated Students.

Cisco Aguilar, ASUA president-elect, said the student government organization did not supply any suggestions for spring commencement because officials were without a speakers board president.