J. Craig Venter

May 15, 2011 - 12:33am
The annual spring exercise honors nearly 5,500 SU graduates, many of whom stayed connected with Facebook, Twitter and their social networks throughout the ceremony.

As has been a tradition for more than a century, the school year on The Hill concluded Sunday with a graduation ceremony.

This year, 5,459 degrees were awarded to Syracuse University students while the joint commencement with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students honored 475 of its students as well.

May 12, 2011 - 11:13am
With uncertainty among some as to why science pioneer J. Craig Venter will be delivering this year's commencement speech to graduates, a school official breaks down the student-driven process.

Just how is a commencement speaker selected?

That question surfaces almost annually around the time when a notable national or world figure is announced as the person who will deliver the address to thousands of Syracuse University graduates, their family and friends.

For the past 16 years, Susan Germain has been an integral part of the commencement arrangements. As executive director of the Office of Special Events, Germain works with marshals, scholars and the guest with the biggest spotlight -- the commencement speaker.