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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2006
 

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  Spring Commencement
Class of '06: Witnesses to tech revolution

When most of the members of this year's graduating class were born in 1984, President Ronald Reagan was up for re-election, and in November won by a landslide. The then-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had a new leader in Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko, who died a year later.

The television sitcom and shows often referred to as nighttime soap operas—Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Knots Landing—dominated the list of the top 20 TV programs. Stone-washed jeans were the fashion, and Rap music was coming of age with Run DMC becoming the first group to earn a gold album.

The Apple Macintosh made its debut, the first megabit computer chip was produced and the cell phone—actually invented in 1973—had been introduced to the market only one year before members of the 2006 senior class were born. The bulky phone initially cost consumers $3,500. iPods were unheard of, but a Sony Walkman—the cassette version—was one year away from becoming a popular item.

Clunky headphones have given way to earbuds, and today it's hard to walk about campus without seeing at least one student on a cell phone.

Graduating members of the so-called Generation Next—technically savvy, entrepreneurial by nature and masterful at multi-tasking—will come together at the end of the week to celebrate a milestone in their lives.

Inside this issue the Record features five outstanding students out of the 4,300-plus undergraduate and nearly 2,800 graduate students—representing 74 countries and all 50 U.S. states—who will take part in Commencement celebrations beginning April 28. Follow the links prefaced with 'Class of '06' within the More Stories section below.

For information on events across campus go to www.umich.edu/~urecord/0506/Apr17_06/18.shtml.

More Stories