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Speakers Announced for 112th ODU Commencement in May

  • Klaus Scharioth and Alina Cho
  • Patricia J. Williams and Elizabeth Duke

Klaus Scharioth, the German ambassador to the United States, and Alina Cho, a national correspondent for the Cable News Network, will be the guest speakers for Old Dominion University's 112th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 8. Nearly 1,900 candidates for graduation will participate in the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

Scharioth will speak and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the 9 a.m. ceremony for graduates of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, College of Sciences and Darden College of Education. Cho will speak and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the 2 p.m. ceremony for graduates in the College of Business and Public Administration, College of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Letters.

Also at the morning ceremony, Patricia J. Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. She is the author of numerous books and papers critiquing the American legal system from the standpoint of race. An honorary doctor of humane letters degree will be awarded in the afternoon session to Elizabeth Duke, an M.B.A. graduate of ODU who is a member of the Federal Reserve Board.

Scharioth has been the German ambassador to the United States for four years. He joined his country's foreign service in 1976 and has focused on work involving security and defense policy, transatlantic relations, European policy, crisis management, arms control and disarmament, as well as negotiations with Iran, Russia and Group of Eight (G8) nations.

Prior to being named ambassador to the United States, Scharioth served from 2002-06 as state secretary, the highest civil service post in the German Foreign Office.

Other postings have been to the Foreign Office Asia desk; the German Embassy in Quito, Ecuador; Germany's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York, where he was a delegate to the Sixth Committee and the Security Council; and the NATO secretary-general's office in Brussels.

From 1973-75, Scharioth studied international relations, international law, and international finance and economics at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University's Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received M.A., M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Fletcher School in 1974, 1975 and 1978, respectively.

Cho joined CNN in 2004 and has reported on major news events such as the election of President Barack Obama and Hurricane Katrina. On election night, she reported live from Chicago's Grant Park where Obama gave his acceptance speech. She was part of the Peabody and Emmy award-winning CNN team that covered the Katrina aftermath in New Orleans.

In 2008, Cho provided rare, live coverage from inside North Korea for CNN. She was part of the official press delegation traveling with the New York Philharmonic for the orchestra's groundbreaking concert in Pyongyang. She also provided a personal look at the division of North and South Korea through the eyes of her parents, who are survivors of the Korean War.

Before joining CNN, Cho was an anchor and correspondent for ABC News. During her tenure there, she was a regular substitute anchor for "World News Now" and "World News This Morning." She also served as the network's online correspondent for "ABC News Live" and as a correspondent for NewsOne, the network's affiliate news service. Cho reported from the United Nations during the months prior to the war in Iraq and covered the sniper attacks near Washington, D.C., in 2002.

Earlier, as a correspondent for CNBC, she led that network's coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Cho holds a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in communications from Boston College.

Professor Williams, one of the most provocative intellectuals in American law, has been credited with creating a new form of legal scholarship that integrates personal narrative, critical and literary theory, traditional legal doctrine and empirical and sociological research. Her first book, "The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor" (Harvard University Press, 1993), is an autobiographical work that addresses some of America's most complex problems involving race and gender. It was named one of the 25 best books of 1991 by the Voice Literary Supplement and one of the Feminist Classics of the Last 25 Years by MS. Magazine.

She is also the author of "The Rooster's Egg" (Harvard, 1995), "Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race" (Noonday Press, 1998) and "Open House: On Family Food, Friends, Piano Lessons and the Search for a Room of My Own" (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2004). Her wry and witty monthly column on issues of social justice, "Diary of a Mad Law Professor," appears in The Nation magazine.

In 2000, Williams was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius award given by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

A member of the Columbia Law School faculty since 1991, she has also been on the faculties of Golden Gate College, City University of New York in Queens and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She received degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard Law School.

Duke took her seat on the Federal Reserve Board in August 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of TowneBank, a Virginia-based community bank. She had also been an executive vice president at Wachovia Bank and SouthTrust Bank. Earlier in her career, Duke was president and chief executive officer of Bank of Tidewater, based in Virginia Beach.

She served on the board of directors of the American Bankers Association from 1999 to 2006, and as its chair from 2004 to 2005. From 1998 to 2000, she was a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She has also served as a member of the Fannie Mae National Advisory Council.

Duke also has held many civic positions, including service on the boards of directors of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, the Hampton Roads Partnership, the Old Dominion University Educational Foundation and the Economics Club of Hampton Roads.

A Virginia native, she received her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.B.A. from ODU. She is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management.

This article was posted on: April 12, 2010

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