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News Release

Moravian College Commencement May 12

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) -- Moravian College will bestow honorary degrees to two distinguished individuals at its commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Honorary doctorates will be awarded to John Corigliano, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and Donna Christian-Christensen, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The College will grant degrees to approximately 345 bachelor’s degree candidates and 24 MBA degree candidates at the graduation ceremonies in the outdoor quadrangle behind the Haupert Union Building. In the event of rain, the program will be held in Johnston Hall. The ceremony will conclude the 259th academic year at Moravian, America’s sixth-oldest college.

CoriglianoPriscilla Payne Hurd, chair of the Moravian College Board of Trustees, will present John Corigliano for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music. Corigliano is internationally celebrated as one of the leading composers of his generation, winning global acclaim for his highly expressive and compelling compositions in orchestral, chamber, opera, and cinema productions.

From his Sonata for Violin and Piano, written almost three decades ago, to his immensely popular opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, to an evocative film score for The Red Violin, Corigliano’s works have been celebrated in numerous public honors. He was recently awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Symphony 2, which premiered in November 2000 with the Boston symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa conducting. In March 2000, Corigliano won an "Oscar" at the Academy Awards for "The Red Violin," his third film score. He is the second classical composer, after Aaron Copland, to receive such an award. Corigliano has also been recognized for the powerful personal and social message in his First Symphony, which was written to commemorate victims of the AIDS epidemic.

Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth, a member of the Moravian College Board of Trustees, will present Donna Christian-Christensen for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. Christian-Christensen is a distinguished leader in United States Congress, representing the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Christian-ChristiensenIn the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Christian-Christensen has earned a well-deserved reputation as a legislative pioneer, organizer, and leader. She is the first female physician ever to serve in the United States Congress and the first female delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since 1998, she has served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, where she has energized and directed efforts to shape the nation’s health care agenda for underrepresented groups. Under her stewardship, hundreds of millions of dollars have been appropriated to combat HIV and AIDS in American communities through treatment and prevention.

For more than 20 years before her election to Congress in 1996, she conducted a highly successful private practice in medicine that was characterized by her accessibility to all in need of her care. She also served as medical director of the Nesbitt Clinic, director of the Frederiksted Health Center, and director of maternal and child health and family planning. She later served as the medical director of the St. Croix Hospital before assuming duties as the territorial assistant commissioner of health and the acting commissioner of health in the Virgin Islands.

In keeping with a longstanding Moravian College tradition, the graduating class recently elected a faculty member and a student to speak at the commencement ceremony. Dr. Robert W. Stinson, professor of history, will give the "Statement to the Graduates". William Anthony Onofry, Class of 2001, will deliver the "Statement of the Bachelor’s Graduates." Beverly A. Wyant, M.B.A Class of 2001, was selected by the M.B.A program to deliver the "Statement of the Master’s Graduates."

A baccalaureate service will be held on Friday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m., in Central Moravian Church. The Reverend DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., New Jersey Secretary of State, will address the graduates at the service. Secretary Soaries is an ordained minister and has served as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, since 1990. A dynamic and inspirational leader, Secretary Soaries has redefined the traditional responsibilities of the Department of State by incorporating his life-long commitment to at-risk-youth into its mission.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Moravian College Web site at www.moravian.edu.