U.N.L.V. signage with Fall leaves in the background

UNLV to Celebrate Winter Commencement Dec. 15

Kerkorian, Molasky to be Awarded Honorary Doctorates; Ceremony Available Live Online for First Time

WHAT: University of Nevada, Las Vegas Winter 2009 Commencement Ceremony

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 15, beginning at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV

DETAILS: More than 3,000 UNLV undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in this year's winter commencement ceremony. For the first time, the commencement ceremony will also be available for viewing live online at http://unlv.vegasgraduations.com/

UNLV President Neal Smatresk will award honorary doctorates to business leaders Irwin Molasky and Kirk Kerkorian for their contributions to the community and their support for higher education in Nevada. In addition, Smatresk will honor seven graduating students for their outstanding achievements both at the university and in the community.

NOTE: Floor access during commencement is limited to participants and credentialed media only. Media can reserve a UNLV commencement credential by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at (702) 895-0893 or by email at tony.allen@unlv.edu.

Guest/Visitor Information
The doors of the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion will open at 3 p.m. All guests should enter through the Thomas & Mack Center, while all graduates should report to Cox Pavilion for line-up. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis; no tickets are required. Ample parking is available in the Thomas & Mack Center lot. The ceremony will last approximately two and a half hours. For more information, please visit http://commencement.unlv.edu.

Outstanding Graduates
Outstanding graduates are chosen by UNLV President Neal Smatresk through a semester-long nomination process. Students are chosen based on outstanding academic achievement, community outreach and their ability to overcome adversity.

Eds. - Interview opportunities with outstanding graduates can be arranged prior to commencement by contacting UNLV Public Affairs at 895-3102.

Rodelin Anthony - B.A. in Journalism/Media Studies; B.A. in Political Science
Rodelin Anthony personifies the term student athlete. Rodelin successfully balanced his role as a wide receiver on the UNLV football team and a dual major in Journalism & Media Studies and Political Science. His combination of athletic and academic talent earned him a spot on the Academic All-Mountain West Conference team four times. Additionally, he represented all of UNLV's student athletes at the 2008 NCAA Student Athlete Development Conference and was honored earlier this year as an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar by the publication Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Rodelin interned with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and plans to attend law school. He is also the proud father of a two-year-old son.

Matthew Cutler - B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Matthew Cutler's combination of academic excellence and civic engagement has set the bar high for future UNLV undergraduates. A former student senate president and 2008 UNLV homecoming king, Matthew graduates with an impressive 3.8 GPA and was named the fall 2009 mechanical engineering outstanding graduate. In 2007, he participated in the McNair Scholars Institute, a summer research program that pairs first-generation college students with top UNLV researchers. Soon after graduation, Matthew will begin his career as an associate nuclear engineer with Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, located within the Idaho National Laboratory.

Kris Buchanan - B.S. in Computer and Electrical Engineering
Kris Buchanan has achieved remarkable academic success at UNLV. A member of the Honors College and double major in computer and electrical engineering, Kris graduates with a 3.88 GPA and was named the outstanding fall 2009 graduate for the department of electrical and computer engineering. Kris has been heavily involved in research as an undergraduate. He participated in the UNLV McNair Scholars Institute and recently interned with the U.S. Army Research Lab in Maryland during which he studied laser imagery for three-dimensional mapping applications. Kris is an active member of the Army R.O.T.C. program at UNLV and will begin graduate studies this spring at Texas A&M University.

Traci Ruppert - M.S. in Special Education
Traci Ruppert's work to improve the lives of children with autism is both an inspiration to her peers and mentors and is leading to new ways to educate the growing number of children affected with the disorder. A researcher and graduate assistant with the UNLV Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Traci's analysis of a collaborative behavior support model for children with autism has resulted in improved behaviors in her students. Traci, who also provides volunteer support at a school for children with autism, graduates with a perfect 4.0 GPA in graduate studies and plans to continue her research at the doctoral level.

James Allen Nott - Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering
James Nott's path to a Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering is proof of the power of a dream. After a long and successful career as a practicing engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, James returned to school four years ago at age 72 to advance his engineering knowledge and attain his dream of a Ph.D. His research examining the strength of certain porous rocks during tunnel construction will be presented at the Fourth Annual International Conference of Structural Engineering in South Africa next fall. James is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering honor society, a fellow of the American Society of the Civil Engineers, and serves as Las Vegas chapter leader of the National Stuttering Association.

Ivan Turnipseed - Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration
Ivan Turnipseed's positive contribution to research, education and student leadership at UNLV will be felt on campus for years to come. In 2003, Ivan co-founded the UNLV chapter of the National Black Graduate Student Association, which has been twice named top national affiliate. He went on to become the organization's national president and was instrumental in bringing the national meeting in Las Vegas in 2006. Ivan's research focuses on tourism marketing and social stratification in organizations, and he has developed and taught courses in both the Women's Studies and African-American Studies programs.

Timo Hofmann - Ph.D. in Chemistry
Timo Hoffman is researching ways to make fuel cells more affordable - work that could lead to a more efficient source of electricity and exemplifies UNLV's commitment to making a renewable energy economy a reality in Nevada. Timo's research focuses on the understanding and optimization of nanoparticle catalysts for fuel cells. Platinum is the current catalyst standard and is quite costly; Timo's work to find a suitable alternative could drive down the price of fuel cell production and make it a more viable alternative energy source. His research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and has been presented at multiple national and international research conferences

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