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Updated 8:45 AM March 24, 2009
 

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Google founder, 8 others to receive U-M honorary degrees

The co-founder of Google, an engineer committed to sustainability, the president of the University of Maryland, a world-renowned psychologist, a business person devoted to higher education, and an alumna with a life of service and philanthropy are among the honorary degree recipients at the U-M spring commencement.

UM-Dearborn will honor a nationally recognized advocate for children and underserved populations and an alumnus dedicated to making education accessible. UM-Flint will present an honorary degree to a former state Speaker of the House.

Google cofounder and 1995 U-M graduate Larry Page will be the main speaker during spring commencement May 2 in Ann Arbor. The Board of Regents voted in January to approve an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree for Page. The board approved eight more honorary degrees at its meeting March 19.

"Larry Page, in the universe of the World Wide Web, your inventions allow us to discover immediately the most relevant information existing among billions of items," the citation to be presented at commencement reads.

"Moreover, you have expanded our world of knowledge and engaged all generations by inviting us 'to Google,' expanding our vocabulary and lives with a new action verb full of creative brilliance."

Page, a native of East Lansing and son of one of U-M's earliest computer science graduates, developed the PageRank algorithm with his partner Sergey Brin in the late 1990s. In 2004 they launched Google Books, a plan to boost access to the world's libraries, with U-M as one of the original electronic book archives to be included in the project.

In addition to Page, these are the nominees:

Ann Arbor ceremony May 2 in Michigan Stadium:

Donald Graham, Doctor of Engineering. Graham has enjoyed a career of thriving transformation, beginning in engineering and expanding into the realm of global investment, while remaining deeply committed to supporting higher education and environmental sustainability, including the establishment of the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute.

Freeman Hrabowski, Doctor of Laws. Hrabowski is an internationally recognized leader in science, engineering and mathematics education, a scholar who has placed a special emphasis on minority participation and excellence in these fields, while rising to the position of president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Michael Posner, Doctor of Science, who will give the commencement address at the University Graduate Exercises May 1. Posner is a world-renowned psychologist, often credited with originating the field of cognitive neuroscience, which uses brain imaging techniques in the study of cognitive processes. He is professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon and adjunct professor at the Sackler Institute of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Richard Rogel, Doctor of Laws. Rogel has transformed lives through his lifelong commitment to increasing access to educational opportunities and health care. He came to U-M as a student in the Business School, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1970. In his early career, he was a management consultant, an associate in corporate finance, and then owner and administrator of a multi-specialty medical center. In 2000 he agreed to serve initially as co-chair, and then as chair of the National Campaign Leadership Cabinet for The Michigan Difference, the campaign that eventually raised $3.2 billion and will benefit future generations of U-M students, faculty and staff.

Joan Hyman Tisch, Doctor of Laws. Tisch has led a life of service and philanthropy, providing time, energy and resources to educational, civic and cultural organizations around the country, particularly to universities and to the city of New York. She arrived at U-M more than six decades ago, leaving the University with her bachelor's degree in English and with her husband and future partner in philanthropy, Preston Robert Tisch, whom she met on the steps of Hatcher Library.

UM-Dearborn ceremony May 3 at the fieldhouse:

Ismael Ahmed, Doctor of Laws. Ahmed is a nationally recognized advocate for children and for poor and underserved populations, as well as an expert in immigration and social reform. He serves as director of the Michigan Department of Human Services, appointed in 2007 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Ahmed leads the state's second largest agency, with oversight of programs in medical and food assistance, at a time when increasing numbers of low-income families are facing urgent need.

Arthur Kochoff, Doctor of Laws. Kochoff has devoted much of his time and energy to assuring that UM-Dearborn will be accessible to all students who want to enroll. From his earliest days on the Ford Motor Co. assembly line to his years spent studying for multiple degrees at UM-Dearborn, Kochoff has demonstrated a love for education and a dedication to supporting higher education.

UM-Flint ceremony May 3 at the Parani Arena and Events Center:

Bobby Crim, Doctor of Laws. Crim has contributed significantly to the history of the state of Michigan through his service in elected office and as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Additionally, for the past three decades, he has promoted the health of the state by encouraging physical fitness and by establishing a foot race that bears his name.

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