Commencement celebrations at Case Western Reserve University are taking on a new format this year—and the festivities begin tomorrow (May 17) with convocation.
About 2,500 students will earn degrees over the next few days, marking the completion of their hard work and studies. They will be honored at diploma ceremonies throughout the week corresponding to their schools. View the complete schedule.
The university-wide convocation will celebrate all graduates with an address by commencement speaker Michael Osterholm, an acclaimed infectious disease researcher; remarks from Graduate Student Council President Razaq Durodoye and Undergraduate Student Government President Ananya Hari; and the presentation of special university awards.
Faculty, staff, students and postdocs are encouraged to mark the occasion by joining in a clap out Wednesday, May 17, at 3:15 p.m. on the Case Quad as graduates process from the Binary Walkway to the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center. Following the clap out, all members of the university community are encouraged to attend convocation, which will begin at 4 p.m.
Convocation and the diploma ceremonies will be livestreamed on the university’s website and social media channels. View livestream information.
Joining those earning their bachelor’s, master’s and PhDs this week will be two honorary degree recipients who have attained incredible career success. Bruce Walker (MED ‘80) and Wyant (CIT ‘65), will be recognized during tomorrow’s convocation.
Learn more about the career accomplishments of CWRU’s honorary degree recipients.
Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa
Bruce Walker’s training in internal medicine and infectious disease coincided with the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Now, after four decades of tireless work in the field, he’s regarded as a trailblazer in HIV research and global healthcare.
Walker (MED ‘80) identified and unraveled the complexity of the immune response to HIV infection, the remarkable and robust activity of T cells and the eventual failure of the immune system due to exhaustion of this response in persistent infection—findings that transformed our understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and helped guide therapeutic efforts to control and eradicate it.
In addition to being a physician-scientist and T cell immunologist, Walker is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor of the practice of medicine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He is also the founding and current director of the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT and Harvard, which aims to transform medical care by harnessing the immune system to prevent and cure human disease. Walker also helped catalyze the creation of two research institutes dedicated to the study of HIV and tuberculosis in South Africa.
Walker is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is also the recipient of two MERIT Awards from the National Institutes of Health and a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award.
Doctor of Engineering, Honoris Causa
When James Wyant was 4 years old, he spent hours in a small workshop, tinkering and problem solving. One of his earliest inventions was a household intercom, designed so his mother could call him for dinner while he was in his workshop.
Wyant’s aspirations grew as time went on. He wanted to become a professor and an inventor, and form a company to sell his creations. He’s accomplished those goals—and it all started with his education at Case Institute of Technology.
Now a renowned optical scientist, Wyant (CIT ‘65) was introduced to optics when he took a summer job during college at the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company, a top producer of flat automotive glass, which called for flawlessly polished surfaces. There, he invented a method to measure surface-scatter light during the manufacturing process.
He went on to earn a PhD from the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, and, after graduating, took his first job in industry as optical engineer at the Itek Corporation.
Wyant served on faculty at the University of Arizona and was the founding dean of its College of Optical Sciences. Later, he founded WYKO Corp. and served as its president and board chairman, and 4D Technology Corp. where he still serves as board chairman. He also served as chair of the Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustees and is now an emeritus trustee.
He’s received numerous awards for both his technical work and his entrepreneurial activities, is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, and is a fellow and past president of both the Optical Society of America and the International Society for Optical Engineering.