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Political commentator and former White House press secretary Tony Snow and novelist M.G. Vassanji will be the featured speakers at Old Dominion University's 107th commencement exercises, where more than 1,000 graduates will receive their degrees Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Snow will speak to the colleges of Engineering and Technology, Education and Sciences at the 9 a.m. session. Vassanji, who is also receiving an honorary degree, will speak to the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Health Sciences and Arts and Letters at the 2 p.m. session.

Snow, 52, is a native of Berea, Ky., and grew up in Cincinnati. He earned his bachelor's degree at Davidson College in North Carolina before working as an editorial writer for The Greensboro Record and The Virginian-Pilot and editorial page editor at The Daily Press. He also wrote nationally syndicated columns for The Detroit News and USA Today.

For seven years, he served as host of "FOX News Sunday" television show, and later had "The Tony Snow Show" on FOX News Radio.

In April 2006, he became press secretary for President George W. Bush, but his service was interrupted by the recurrence of colon cancer, and he retired in September to concentrate on fighting the disease.

He and his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, and their three children live in Virginia.

The Kenyan-born Vassanji, 57, emigrated to Canada in 1978 after studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics.

While working as a research fellow at the University of Toronto, he became enamored with writing, and co-founded what is now called "The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad." In 1989 he published his acclaimed first novel, "The Gunny Sack." He has since published two collections of short stories and five more novels, including his most recent, "The Assassin's Song." His works have earned him two Scotiabank Giller Prizes, The Order of Canada, and the Commonwealth First Book Prize, among others.

Vassanji currently lives in Toronto. His wife, Nurjehan, was born in Tanzania. They have two sons.

More information on the commencement ceremonies available at http://www.odu.edu/ao/commencement/

This article was posted on: November 16, 2007

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