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Two well-known individuals who have distinguished themselves in decidedly different careers have been announced as Old Dominion University's next commencement speakers.

Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., supreme allied commander, Atlantic, and commander in chief, U.S. Joint Forces Command, will handle the duties at the Dec. 19 commencement, while Fred Rogers, of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the longest-running children's program on public television, will address the first class of 2000 on May 6.

A Norfolk native, Gehman attended the Navy ROTC program at Pennsylvania State University, graduating in 1965 with a bachelor's in industrial engineering. He served in Vietnam on his second tour of duty and has since worked his way up through the ranks. He succeeded Gen. John J. Sheehan as USAC commander in chief two years ago.

As commander in chief of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Gehman exercises combatant command of 80 percent of U.S.-based armed forces.

Fred Rogers, or Mister Rogers, as he is better known, will be a familiar face to next year's graduates, many of whom grew up watching him on TV.

Rogers is president of Family Communications Inc., the nonprofit corporation he founded in 1971. "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" reaches almost 8 million households and child care settings each week. Rogers has produced more than 870 episodes.

This article was posted on: October 25, 1999

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