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BU officials prepare for commencement weekend, with nearly 20,000 attendees expected

Posted by Your Town  May 17, 2013 02:28 PM

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With nearly 20,000 parents, faculty, friends, and graduates expected to converge on Boston University’s campus this weekend, the school is bringing in some big name guests and planning to ramp up security measures.

Wendy Kopp, the founder and board chairwoman of Teach for America, will deliver the commencement address on Sunday, according to BU Today. Kopp founded Teach for America in 1990, one year after proposing the concept as her undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton University.

“I wanted to have someone as Commencement speaker who’s made a huge, huge impact on the world,” President Robert A. Brown told the graduating class at the annual Senior Breakfast. “She did it coming out as an undergraduate.”

Kopp will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, BU Today said. The other honorary degree recipients include chemical engineer Robert S. Langer, United Methodist Church Bishop Peter D. Weaver, and Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will be honored at commencement with a Boston University Medallion.

Weaver will also deliver the baccalaureate address on Sunday. Weaver, who graduated from the Methodist-founded Boston University, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the all-university commencement ceremony.

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, BU is heightening its security this weekend.

According to BU Today, every person entering a commencement venue will be subject to screening, and only “normal size” handbags, purses, and camera bags will be permitted. No other bags, backpacks, luggage, gift bags, wrapped presents, packages, briefcases will be allowed into any venue.

The graduating students and faculty members may not wear their robes until they are inside.

“I have no doubt that with the caliber of the faculty and staff who will be working that day this will be a smooth Commencement,” Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore told BU Today. “It will defy your expectations and make sure everyone stays safe.”

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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