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CNN reporter and host Wolf Blitzer and Michael D'Orso, a best-selling nonfiction author, will be the speakers at Old Dominion University's 104th Commencement Exercises Saturday, May 6 in the Ted Constant Convocation Center. More than 2,200 candidates for graduation are expected to participate in the ceremonies, which will also feature the university's 100,000th graduate.

Blitzer will speak and receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the 9 a.m. ceremony for graduates in the College of Arts and Letters, Batten College of Engineering and Technology and College of Sciences. D'Orso will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony for graduates in the College of Business and Public Administration, Darden College of Education and College of Health Sciences. Dr. Charles E. Horton Sr., chairman and founder of Physicians for Peace, will receive an honorary doctor of sciences degree during the afternoon ceremony.

Blitzer rose to prominence in television journalism during the first Gulf War in Kuwait and won a CableACE Award for his coverage. During the last 15 years, he has held several jobs at CNN, including White House correspondent, anchor of The World Today show and host of Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer and Wolf Blitzer Reports. He earned an Emmy Award for his coverage of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

He is the author of two books, "Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook" and "Territory of Lies."

Blitzer, who worked for Reuters news agency and The Jerusalem Post before joining CNN, is the son of Holocaust refugees from Poland. He received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Buffalo and a master's in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.

D'Orso, the author of 15 books and winner of more than 20 national writing awards, is perhaps best know for his 1996 book "Like Judgement Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town called Rosewood," which was made into a movie directed by John Singleton and featuring Jon Voight, Ving Rhames and Academy Award-winner Don Cheadle. A New York Times best-seller, the book is the story of an African-American Florida community that was the tragic victim of racism in 1923. The book won the Lillian Smith Book Award for writing on social justice and was an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year winner.

His latest book, "Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska," has been compared to the high school basketball classic "Hoosiers" by national media. People Magazine said of the book, which was published by Bloomsbury earlier this year, "Rich…poignant…. Don't think of this as just a 'Hoosiers' in the tundra. It's a heartfelt homage to a proud, indigenous people."

D'Orso, who lives in Norfolk, is a former staff writer for Commonwealth Magazine and The Virginian-Pilot. He holds a bachelors degree in philosophy and a master's in English from The College of William and Mary.

Dr. Charles E. Horton, Sr., an internationally acclaimed humanitarian and renowned plastic surgeon from Norfolk, established Physicians for Peace in the early 1980s as an international, medical education organization dedicated to building peace and international friendships in developing nations with unmet medical needs and scarce resources through medical education and training, clinical care, and donated medical supplies.

Physicians for Peace sends teams of medical volunteers - including physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals - to places where their teaching and healing skills are needed most, including the Middle East, Central America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and beyond.

Horton has served in various academic capacities at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, as well as the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and the University of Virginia. He has been a visiting professor at more than 100 medical schools and hospitals in the United States and overseas, authored more than 200 articles in medical literature, edited three books and contributed approximately 100 chapters in medical textbooks.

Horton served as chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and president of the Educational Foundation of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, among other appointments. He is the recipient of numerous medals and awards, including an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons (Glasgow), honorary membership in the Israeli, Jordanian, Syrian, South African, Canadian and Turkish Plastic Surgery Societies, a Brotherhood Citation by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the American-Arab Affairs Council Citation of Merit, American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Special Achievement Award of Plastic Surgery, Dieffenbach Medal, the American Medical Association Pride in the Profession Award, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons/Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Recognition Award.

Horton graduated from the University of Virginia with a Doctor of Medicine degree. His postgraduate training included George Washington University, U.S. Naval Medical Center and Duke University.

This article was posted on: April 13, 2006

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