Shirley Ann Jackson, a theoretical physicist who is considered one of the leading women in science, has been chosen to give the commencement address during the 157th commencement ceremonies for the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering on Sunday, May 20.

Jackson has led an illustrious career, with senior leadership positions in government, industry, research and academia. Some of her past roles include president of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is currently the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Last month, Jackson was awarded the Vannevar Bush Award for lifetime achievement. She was described as “a national treasure” by the board.

Jackson, who was born in Washington D.C. and educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has accomplished much outside of the natural sciences. She is a member of the Board of the Directors of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and chair of the NYSE Regulation Board.

UR President Joel Seligman is excited about the decision.

“Shirley Ann Jackson’s record of achievements and contributions in so many areas is extraordinary and we’re honored to have her as the Commencement speaker,” he said. “Her work as a distinguished scientist, teacher and public servant is an inspiration to students who are ready to become the next generation of leaders.”

During the commencement ceremonies, Jackson will be presented the honorary degree Doctor of Science. The ceremony will take place on the Eastman Quadrangle on the River Campus.

Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.

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