Society

More than 3,500 Aggies set to receive degrees this weekend

COLLEGE STATION–Texas A&M University kicks off its midyear commencement ceremonies Thursday, Dec. 16 with a convocation address by Ambassador Ryan Crocker, dean of its George Bush School of Government and Public Service, followed over the next two days by three graduation exercises for more than 3,500 degree candidates.

Crocker’s address is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in Rudder Theatre. Graduation exercises will be held across campus in Reed Arena at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 and at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. A list showing which academic colleges and schools will be awarding degrees at each ceremony can be viewed at http://graduation. tamu.edu/ceremon.html.

Commencement convocation, which is open to the public, is a relatively new Texas A&M tradition in which all members of a graduating class have the opportunity to assemble together, along with family members and friends, in an informal setting.

Crocker joined Texas A&M earlier this year after serving as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009. Earlier in his 37- year Foreign Service career he led diplomatic missions in Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon.

“We are delighted that Ambassador Crocker has graciously accepted our invitation to address Texas A&M’s December graduates,” Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said when announcing his selection. “With his vast international service and experience, we are confident that he will bring a highly interesting and relevant message. It is particularly appropriate to have someone with his international perspective help formally send off our new graduates with additional insight regarding the increasingly complex global society into which they are entering.

“This event also gives another opportunity to express our appreciation to Ambassador Crocker for assuming leadership of the Bush School and to underscore our confidence that he will guide the college to an even greater stature internationally, as well as here in Texas and throughout the nation,” Loftin added.

Crocker retired from the U.S Foreign Ser vice last year. In addition to his ambassadorship in Iraq and his heading of diplomatic missions in several other Middle East countries, he also held posts in Iran, Qatar and Egypt, as well as in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he has served as professor of national security strategy and later as international affairs adviser at the National War College.

He grew up in an Air Force family and attended schools in Morocco, Canada and Turkey, as well as in the United States. He received a B.A. in English and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. He also pursued graduate studies in public policy as a Mid-Career Fellow at Princeton University.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service and the Donovan Award from the National Clandestine Service. He also holds the State Department Distinguished Honor Award, Award for Valor, the American Foreign Ser v ice A ssociation Rivkin Award for creative dissent and the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for “exceptional courage and leadership” in Afghanistan.

In 2004, President George W. Bush conferred on Crocker the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, in January of 2009, and later that year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the establishment of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Expeditionary Diplomacy.


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