Pratt School of Engineering Celebrates Graduation of Class of 2005

May 16, 2005

Duke University and its Pratt School of Engineering awarded degrees to 300 undergraduate and graduate engineering students Sunday in a series of ceremonies starting with a university-wide commencement celebration in Wallace Wade Stadium and winding up with an inspiring ceremony in Duke Chapel.

Pratt Dean Kristina M. Johnson presented Bachelor of Science in Engineering diplomas to 237 students, including eight who completed their work in December and six last September, before a standing-room-only crowd of parents, relatives and friends in the Chapel.

Pratt also awarded 25 Master of Engineering Management degrees during a noon ceremony in the auditorium of the new Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Science. The university’s Graduate School presented Doctor of Philosophy degrees to 16 engineers at a noon ceremony in Page Auditorium. The Graduate School also awarded 22 Master of Science degrees to Pratt engineers.

Johnson said in her address to the Class of 2005 that today's engineers in the United States "must become the global engineer of the future" because engineers 25 years from now will be faced with an international society.

"You’ll need to take the initiative to continue to learn and evolve your engineering skills to address the complex problems of this generation and the next, and in the context of greater globalization. It is our vision that the educational environment that you experienced at Duke, and Pratt in particular, has prepared you for the so-called real world."

She said America needs to make science and engineering education a higher priority in order to sustain innovation in this country and contribute to "value-based globalization." That is why Duke and Pratt, she said, have supported and promoted study-abroad programs.

"Duke has one of the largest percentage of engineers studying abroad of any top-50 school in the country," Johnson said.

Larissa Jane West, the president of the Pratt senior class, followed Johnson to the podium and said she and her classmates had “four long, difficult, yet wonderful years” at Duke and Pratt.

“I really think I speak on behalf of all the seniors when I say that we couldn’t have had a better education experience, and that we’re extremely excited to never have to take your exams ever, ever, ever again,” West said.

Johnson later presented the Walter J. Seeley Scholastic Award to West, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., for achieving the highest grade point average in all subjects among members of her class. West also won the Student Service Award, along with classmate Christian B. Moyer, and the George Sherrerd III Memorial Award in Electrical Engineering.

In all, Duke awarded more than 3,800 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees at the morning ceremony in Wallace Wade Stadium. Dressed in traditional caps and gowns, the graduates were seated on the football field according to their degree programs.

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, who received a Ph.D. in economics from Duke in 1966, said in his commencement address that students will face global challenges similar in importance and magnitude to those Americans overcame decades ago during the Civil Rights movement. He recalled how one of his first impressions as a doctoral student was the segregated restrooms he encountered at the Raleigh-Durham airport in 1961. Americans are “rightfully proud” about overcoming legal segregation, he said, and they now face similar challenges in enhancing justice and the rule of law internationally.

Introduced by Duke President Richard H. Brodhead as “a profile in courage” for his resistance to the regime of Augusto Pinochet, Lagos was among five recipients of honorary degrees. The others were environmental advocate John H. Adams, Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann, university president Freeman A. Hrabowski III and humanitarian and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson.

Here is a list of Pratt’s winners of special prizes and awards:

The Walter J. Seeley Scholastic Award -- Larissa Jane West. (Presented to the student who has achieved the highest scholastic average in all subjects, and who has shown diligence in pursuit of an engineering education.)

The da Vinci Award -- Shiyi Teo (Presented to the biomedical engineering student with the most outstanding academic record as determined by a faculty committee.)

The Helmholtz Award -- Aya Eguchi and Nasheer Azeem Sachedina. (Presented to graduating seniors who present the best research project as judged by the departmental faculty.)

The Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Faculty Award -- Kasey Elizabeth Smith. (Presented to the graduating mechanical engineering senior who has attained the highest level of scholastic achievement in all subjects.)

The Raymond C. Gaugler Award in Materials Science and Engineering -- Douglas Gurnett Mullen. (Presented to the senior who has made the most progress at Duke in developing competence in materials science or materials engineering.)

Student Service Award -- Christian B. Moyer and Larissa Jane West. (Given to the graduating seniors who, by their contributions of time, effort and spirit, have significantly benefited the community of the Pratt School of Engineering.)

The Otto Meier, Jr. Tau Beta Pi Award -- Justin W. Darkoch. (Given to the graduating Tau Beta Pi member who symbolized best the distinguished scholarship and exemplary character required for membership.)

The William Brewster Snow Environmental Engineering Award -- Victor Knútur Victorsson. (Presented to a senior who has demonstrated academic excellence, interest and enthusiasm in the study of environmental engineering.)

The American Society of Civil Engineers Prize -- Deirdre McShane and Justin Michael Shapiro. (Awarded to outstanding seniors in civil engineering on the recommendation of the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.)

The Aubrey E. Palmer Award -- Kelly Elaine Devereaux. (Presented to a civil engineering senior in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.)

The Eric I. Pas Award -- Daniel Joseph Stepner. (Presented to a graduating civil engineering senior judged by the faculty to have conducted the most outstanding independent study project.)

The George Sherrerd III Memorial Award in Electrical Engineering -- Larissa Jane West. (Awarded to a senior in electrical engineering who, in the opinion of the faculty, has attained the highest level of scholastic achievement in all subjects and who has rendered significant service to the School of Engineering and the university.)

The Charles Seager Memorial Award -- Kathryn Nicole Weaver. (Recognizes outstanding achievement in the annual Student Prize Paper Contest of the Duke branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or significant contributions to electrical engineering.)

The David Randall Fuller Prize -- Ungtae Lee. (Presented to the graduating electrical engineering senior who has shown the most improvement in academic performance over the first three years.)

The Pi Tau Sigma Scholarship Award -- Lindsay Marie Smith and Sheena Erin Wiesner. (Presented to outstanding seniosr in mechanical engineering on the basis of academic excellence, engineering ability and leadership as judged by a faculty committee.)

Engineering seniors and Ph.D. students receiving the William J. Griffith University Service Award: Michael James Belsante, Valeta Carol Chancey, Adam Paige Hall, Megan Marie Hanson, Andrew Bruce Holbrook, Eric Mark Schwartz, Vijay Srinivasan and Amanda Leah Zimmerman.

Students graduating with departmental distinction:

Biomedical Engineering: Avery Clarke Capone, Rachel Nicole Catz, Sameer Madhav Deshmukh, Brian W. O’Callaghan Diekman, Leahthan Faye Domeshek, * Michael Nicholas Economo, * Aya Eguchi, * Ryan Edward Feaver, * Kelly Lynne Fong, Haven Rebecca Garber Stephen Thomas Greenfield. Twinkle Ravi Gupta, * Charles Tilden Hagan IV, Aarash Andre Haghighat, Bevin Elizabeth Hearn, * Jia-Wei Kevin Ko, * Emily Jayne McDowell, * Christian B. Moyer, Inge Alsaid Osman, * Roni Benjamin Prucz, Nasheer Azeem Sachedina, * Eric Mark Schwartz, * Shiyi Teo, Maria Theresa Wachendorf and Amanda Leah Zimmerman.
(Those with an asterisk received the Howard G. Clark Award.)

Civil and Environmental Engineering: Deirdre McShane, Justin Michael Shapiro, Daniel Joseph Stepner and Victor Knútur Victorsson.

Electrical and Computer Engineering: Patrick Ryan Crosby, Danielle Mousseau Davidian, Andrew Francis Dreher, Jacob Joseph Flomenberg, Thai Wing Darwin Goei, Trina Kok, Jessica Breslin Smith, Charles Pai Wang, Kathryn Nicole Weaver and Devaka Viraj Yasaratne.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science: Noël Mojgan Bakhtian, Zachary Wayne Dunn, Megan Clare Leftwich, Jonathan Ryan Nesbitt, Paul Stevenson Nesline, Lindsay Marie Smith and Sheena Erin Wiesner.