OXFORD, Miss. – Heralded for his statesmanship and diplomacy at the state and federal level, U.S. Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.) is set to visit the University of Mississippi May 12 to deliver the keynote address at the university’s 159th commencement.
Wicker, who was elected to the Senate in 2008, speaks to graduating students, their families and other guests at 9 a.m. in the Grove. This year’s graduating class includes more than 3,000 candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees.
“We have a tradition of bringing renowned and influential figures to campus for our commencement addresses, and this year we are honored to have one of the nation’s acknowledged leaders in public policy,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Over his career, Roger Wicker has proven that, if you commit yourself to public service, you can positively impact the lives of others. He is a powerful motivator, and his insights on educational attainment and success should be valuable for everyone.”
Recipients of doctor of philosophy degrees are to be hooded by their major professors in a 7:30 p.m. ceremony May 11 in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College ceremony begins at 4 p.m. at the same location.
A shuttle service for handicapped and elderly visitors is available Saturday before the main ceremony. Shuttles will pick up people needing assistance at the UPD tent in front of Coulter Hall on University Avenue and take them to the seating area for the main ceremony. (Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families.) Visitors needing assistance after the ceremony should tell their shuttle driver.
In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Tad Smith Coliseum. If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets, text messaging and the Ole Miss website.
Following the main ceremony, individual schools and the College of Liberal Arts hold ceremonies at various times and locations to present baccalaureate, master’s, doctor of pharmacy and juris doctor degrees and awards. The schedule is as follows:
- College of Liberal Arts master’s degrees – 11 a.m., Fulton Chapel
- Patterson School of Accountancy – 11 a.m., Ford Center
- School of Applied Sciences – 11 a.m., Indoor Practice Facility
- School of Business Administration – 11 a.m., Tad Smith Coliseum
- School of Engineering – 11 a.m., Lyceum Circle
- School of Education and Bachelor of General Studies – 11 a.m., Grove
- School of Law – 11 a.m., Grove
- School of Pharmacy – 2:30 p.m., Indoor Practice Facility
- Meek School of Journalism and New Media – 2:30 p.m., Ford Center
- College of Liberal Arts – 2:30 p.m., Tad Smith Coliseum
In case of rain, the College of Liberal Arts master’s degree ceremony will be moved to 11 a.m. in Nutt Auditorium. The School of Education ceremony will be moved to 5 p.m. in Tad Smith Coliseum; Engineering, 11 a.m. in Fulton Chapel; and Law, 5 p.m. in the Indoor Practice Facility.
Besides Wicker’s address, the main ceremony also includes remarks by the senior class president, recognition for the university’s outstanding teacher and announcements of the the Frist Student Service Awards and the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.
A Pontotoc native, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach and maintain a strong national defense. He serves as deputy whip and is a member of the Armed Services Committee; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; and the Veterans Affairs Committee. As deputy whip, Wicker works alongside Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to promote a conservative agenda and build support for the legislative plan.
Wicker has been a strong advocate for economic development initiatives to help keep Mississippians competitive in a global marketplace. He has been honored by the National Association of Manufacturers for his work on pro-growth, pro-manufacturing policies in Congress.
Previously, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He has served Mississippians in the Senate since his appointment to the office by Gov. Haley Barbour on Dec. 31, 2007. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties.
Wicker served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then joined the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The son of former Circuit Judge Fred Wicker and the late Wordna Wicker, he was educated in the public schools of Pontotoc and received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the university. A member of First Baptist Church Tupelo, Wicker sings in the choir.
Wicker is married to the former Gayle Long of Tupelo. Their children are Margaret and son-in-law Manning McPhillips; Caroline and son-in-law Kirk Sims; and McDaniel Wicker; and they have two grandchildren: Caroline and Henry McPhillips.
For more information on commencement activities, go to http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/registrar/commencement.html. For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-7234.