Daniel Wegman will deliver the commencement address for the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony, which is scheduled for May 16, 2010.
He will also be the latest recipient of the Eastman Medal, which is awarded to individuals who embody the University’s ideals, according to the Office of the Provost.
At the beginning of September 2009, UR announced that Wegman had been confirmed as one of three new UR trustees, moving the board up to 103 members.
The board is responsible for approving major university initiatives such as the all-encompassing agenda known as the Strategic Plan, although they are arguably associated most closely with the annual tuition changes.
“Danny” Wegman, a Harvard graduate, succeeded his father Robert Wegman as president of the company in 1976. In 2005 he became Chairman of the Board, leaving the presidency to his daughter Colleen. He also serves on the board of several local organizations, including the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection Board of Directors and the Rochester Business Alliance Healthcare Task Force.
The Eastman Medal will be given presumably on the basis of Wegman’s significant work outside of his corporation. UR President Joel Seligman and Provost Ralph Kuncl select the Eastman Medal award winner from among those nominated. UR established the award in 2000, but has neither bestowed it every year nor been constrained to award it only once per year for instance, while no one received it in 2007, six individuals won it in 2009.
Wegman is the first person announced as a winner this year.
In picking Wegman as the commencement speaker, however, the College has continued a tradition of using primarily local public figures. In 2009, for instance, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter gave the main address; in 2008, it was Xerox Corp. CEO Anne Mulcahy. Unlike the major national figures who headline Meliora Weekend, the University’s commencement speakers usually do not command speaking fees, inevitably drawing comparisons to certain ivy-covered institutions.
Yet many students don’t mind, arguing that the content of the speech just has to be relevant. And most hopes for Wegman reside with his ability to show a sense of humor.
‘[I want] someone who’s short, funny and can relate some sort of serious tone with it serious meaning,” senior Nicholas Gala said.
Senior Brian Lobenstine expressed similar interests in a commencement speaker.
‘I’m sort of looking for just, fun. I’ll have just graduated and I’d look for something that’s uplifting and funny and upbeat. That’s really all I’m looking for.”
Brenneman is a Take Five Scholar.