Brown University's Graduate School Commencement Ceremony ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 25, 2008 at Lincoln Field. Casey Marks, a doctoral candidate in computer science will deliver the student address, titled "Beyond Specialization." Several prestigious awards will also be presented.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University's Graduate School will hold its Commencement Ceremony on Sunday May 25, 2008. Sheila Bonde, Dean of the Graduate School, will preside over the ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on Lincoln Field. The Graduate School will confer approximately 530 advanced degrees — 170 doctorates and 360 master's degrees.

Casey Marks, a doctoral candidate in computer science, will deliver the student address, titled "Beyond Specialization." Marks, who was raised in Alpine, California, received a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics and master's degree in computer science from Brown in 2002 and 2005, respectively. His doctoral research centered on game-theoretic artificial intelligence specifically algorithms that learn to cooperate with one another.

Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Awards

During the ceremony, four doctoral candidates will be honored with the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Awards, an annual prize awarded by the Graduate School for superior achievements in research by students who are completing their Ph.D.s. Supported through the Joukowsky Family Foundation, the awards are given to students from each of the four main academic areas: the humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. The award carries a $2,500 honorarium. This year's recipients are:

  • Gül Dolen, Neuroscience, "Genetic Interaction Between Frm1 and Grm5: A Role for mGluR5 in the Pathogenesis of Fragile X Syndrome"
  • Huinan Liu, Biomedical Engineering, "Design, Fabrication and Evaluation of 2D to 3D Nanostructured Ceramic/Polymer Composites for Orthopedic Regeneration and Controlled Drug Delivery"
  • Robert Newcomb, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, "Counterposing Nossa and Nuestra América: Brazil in the Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Intellectual Construction of Latin America"
  • Paul White, Anthropology, "Chuckwalla and the Belligerent Burro: Timbisha Shoshone, Miners, and the Footprints of Dispossession in the Panamints"

Horace Mann Medal

For the first time, the Horace Mann Medal, established in 2003 at the 100th anniversary of the Graduate School, will be awarded at the University Commencement ceremony. The Horace Mann Medal is given annually to a Brown Graduate School alumnus or alumna who has made significant contributions in his or her field, inside or outside of academia. The medal replaces the Distinguished Graduate School Alumni Award.

This year's recipient is Mary Lou Jepsen, '87,Ph.d '97.

Jepsen is the founding chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), and has been a pioneer in developing display technologies —from flat-panel televisions and laser displays, to holography and day-lighting. She grew up on a family farm in Connecticut before diving into technology during her junior year at Brown University, driving nuclear submarines for the U.S. Naval Underwater Systems Center in New London, Conn. She graduated from Brown with degrees in art and electrical engineering, then earned an M.S. from MIT, where she studied in the Media Lab's Spatial Imaging group. After briefly teaching computer science and creating large-scale holographic art installations, Jepsen returned to Brown to earn a Ph.D. in optics.

In 1995 Jepsen co-founded MicroDisplay, a California–based company that manufactures liquid crystal-on-silicon chips for high-definition TV displays. She was chief technology officer of Intel’s display division through 2004, leaving to join Nicholas Negroponte in January 2005 to establish One Laptop Per Child. The company's mission has been to deliver low-cost, mesh-networked laptops en masse to children in developing countries.

During her two years as chief technology officer of the OLPC non-profit foundation, Jepsen invented the power-efficient screen that became a key feature of the $100 laptop known as the XO. By the end of 2005, she had completed the initial architecture, led the development of the first prototype – unveiled by Secretary General Kofi Annan at a United Nations summit – and signed up some of the world's largest manufacturers to produce the XO-1 model. The "greenest" of all laptop computers, the XO can be run on solar power, making it useful in remote areas with unreliable or limited energy sources.

Jepsen left OLPC at the end of 2007 to commercialize the technology through Pixel-Qi, the company she founded and now heads. Through Pixel Qi she is bringing a new generation of super high-resolution, low-cost and low-power screens into mainstream laptops, e-book readers, cellphones and digital cameras.

Jepsen was named one of the World's 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2008.

 

Wilson-DeBlois Award

Nancy Picard, administrative manager of Brown University Graduate School, will be presented with the Wilson-DeBlois Award, which is given annually by the Graduate Student Council to honor outstanding contributions to the Graduate School and its students. The award is named for the recipients of Brown's first two doctorates in 1889. Picard will be recognized for for her keen ability to ensure that each graduate student has access to the resources and staff of the Graduate School.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching

Earlier this month, graduate students Eugenia Brinkema of the Department of Modern Culture and Media and Corey McEleney of the Department of English were honored with The Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. The annual prize, awarded by the Graduate School to recognize outstanding pedagogical achievement by a Brown University graduate student, carries a $2,500 honorarium.

For more commencement information, visit www.brown.edu/web/commencement/2008/grad/.