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April 11, 1996

NEH head to speak at commencement

Sheldon Hackney, chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will deliver Pitt's 1996 commencement address on April 28 at 1 p.m. in the Civic Arena, Downtown.

Approximately 2,000 of the University's 6,800 graduating students are expected to attend the ceremony, which is open to the public. Pitt Interim Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will present Hackney with an honorary doctor of humanities degree during the ceremony.

Hackney has been NEH chairperson since August 1993. Before that, he was president of the University of Pennsylvania for 12 years and president of Tulane University for five years.

During his years at Penn, that university conducted a $1 billion, four-year capital campaign; boosted minority enrollment from 1.2 percent to more than 10 percent of the 22,000-person student body; doubled sponsored research, and quintupled the endowment.

An award-winning historian of the American South, Hackney regularly taught undergraduate courses at Penn. Among his books is "Populism to Progressivism in Alabama" (1969), which won the American Historical Association's 1970 Albert J. Beveridge prize for best book on American history. The book also won the Southern Historical Association's 1970 Charles Sydnor award.

Among the many articles Hackney has published is "Reinventing the American University: Toward a University System for the Twenty-First Century," which appeared in the fall-winter 1994 issue of Universities and Community Schools.

Prior to his presidencies at Tulane and Penn, Hackney was a faculty member at Princeton from 1965 to 1975. He was provost there from 1972 to 1975.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1933, Hackney earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Yale. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1961, spending three years at sea and two years teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Hackney is married to attorney Lucy Durr Hackney, founder and president of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, an independent, nonpartisan advocacy research and resource center.

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