Tuesday, September 30, 2014

63º F (17º C)

Provost Simon Will Speak at Fall Convocation

John D. Simon, executive vice president and provost, will speak at the University of Virginia’s annual Fall Convocation, to be held Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. in the John Paul Jones Arena.

The ceremony will include the awarding of Intermediate Honors to the top 20 percent of students who have completed at least 60 hours of course work in their first two years. Also, two members of the University community will receive the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest honor given by the University. The convocation traditionally kicks off Family Weekend.

The Public Occasions Subcommittee of the Commencement and Convocations Committee each year provides the president with a list of potential speakers for Fall Convocation.

“This is when we honor our students for their early academic achievements, as well as the scholarship and service of longtime members of the University community,” Simon said. “I am honored and humbled to be asked to do this.”

Simon became provost in 2011. As the University’s chief academic officer, he is charged with directing the academic administration of the 11 schools, the University Library, The Fralin Museum of Art, public service activities, numerous University centers, foreign study programs and the advancement of teaching and research. He is also the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Chemistry.

Simon served as the vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University from 2005 to 2011 and chaired Duke's chemistry department from 1999 to 2004.

He received his B.A. from Williams College in 1979 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University in 1983. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Los Angeles, Simon joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California-San Diego in 1985, and then moved to Duke as the George B. Geller Professor in 1998.

Simon has earned numerous fellowships and awards for his scientific work including the Presidential Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award and the Fresenius Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

He was part of an international research team that published a study earlier this year, which reported that ink sacs from 160-million-year-old giant cephalopod fossils contain the pigment melanin, and that it is essentially identical to the melanin found in the ink sac of a modern-day cuttlefish.

President Teresa A. Sullivan invites all faculty members who are not in classes or meetings to participate in the academic procession and ceremony. Although academic dress is not required, regalia can be obtained through the University Bookstore at 434-924-3721. The deadline for reserving caps, gowns and hoods is Sept. 21.

Nominations for the Thomas Jefferson Awards remain open until noon on Sept. 19.

For information on Fall Convocation, visit the website of the Office of Major Events or call 434-982-3099.

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