Campus News

Secretary of Navy, former provost will address graduates

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will be the speaker at UGA’s spring undergraduate Commencement exercise May 13 at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

Karen A. Holbrook, senior vice president for research, innovation and global affairs and professor of molecular medicine at the University of South Florida, will deliver the Commencement address at the graduate ceremony on the same day at 10 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Holbrook was UGA’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost from 1998 to 2002.

“I am pleased and honored these two very good friends of the University of Georgia accepted our invitation to speak at the spring Commencement,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams.

“In many ways, Karen Holbrook’s vision and leadership during her tenure as provost set the stage for the successes the university now enjoys in research, innovation and technology transfer. Ray Mabus has long been a personal friend of mine and has become a friend of the university during the process of transferring the Navy School property back to UGA for a medical campus. I very much look forward to their remarks.”

As the 75th secretary, Mabus leads America’s Navy and Marine Corps, overseeing almost 900,000 individuals and an annual budget in excess of $150 billion. Mabus is responsible for all affairs of the Department of the Navy, including recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training and mobilizing.

He is accountable for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs consistent with the national security objectives established by the president and the secretary of defense.

Additionally, he oversees the construction, outfitting and repair of naval ships, equipment and facilities.

Holbrook has had an extensive research and academic career. Following her role at UGA, she served as president of Ohio State University for five years. Prior to these positions, Holbrook was vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida and associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

She has served on the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Council of Education, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Association of American Universities, among others. She participates on numerous advisory panels and councils for the National Institutes of Health and has received NIH’s MERIT Award.

Holbrook currently serves on several boards for such organizations as the Institute for International Education and Southeastern Universities Research Association.

Commencement ceremonies will be held for students who are expected to complete degree requirements at the end of the spring 2011 semester. Both ceremonies will be broadcast live on channel 15 of the university and Charter cable systems and streamed live at

The undergraduate ceremonies will be conducted “rain or shine.” In the case of severe inclement weather, defined as rain accompanied by high winds, thunder and lightning, the undergraduate ceremony will be moved to May 14 at 9:30 a.m. at Sanford Stadium.