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420 Receive Degrees and Hear from Prof. Paul Kissinger at 1997 Commencement Exercises

May 24, 1997

May 24, 1997, Greencastle, Ind. - Balancing family life and work will be more challenging for today's graduates than ever before, as telecommuting, the Internet and other modern forms of communication are making it more difficult to unplug from the office, Paul B. Kissinger told DePauw University's Class of 1997 today.  Dr. Kissinger, professor of physics and astronomy at DePauw, presented the principal address at the ceremonies, which took place on East College lawn.

"The tension between career advancement and family obligations should not be dismissed lightly," Kissinger told the 420 new alumni.  "Modern communications might give you the freedom to do a lot of work from home.  Make sure you understand that the term 'flexible' shouldn't be a euphemism for 'perpetual.'  The danger is, if your work is fun ... your home can easily turn into your office."

Kissinger has been selected as DePauw's Outstanding Professor in three different years.  Since joining the DePauw faculty in 1960, he's also been named the University's first Alumni Faculty Fellow and was named a Lilly Faculty Fellow and Danforth Foundation Associate in recognition of his teaching and research. In 1991 he received the Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Tucker Distinguished Career Award, which honors senior faculty members for distinguished contributions to the university.

DePauw typically has an external speaker at commencement, but the Class of 1997 requested that Professor Kissinger speak to them.

"Of course, the key to living a satisfying life is to live it the way you want," Kissinger told the graduates.  "But whether you choose to live it in the style of the Lone Ranger, one-half of a childless couple, in a family of four with a dog and cat, whatever -- if you choose a particular lifestyle because you think it is expected of you, you will almost certainly be miserable."

Graduates and their families also heard from Jason P. Kreag, the recipient of the Walker Cup.  He urged classmates to remain actively involved in volunteer activities throughout their lives.

Honorary doctoral degrees were awarded to three individuals: Willis H. "Bing" Davis, who received a B.A. degree at DePauw in 1959 and has gone on to establish himself as an internationally renowned artist and leading force in art education; Sidney Fine, professor of history at the University of Michigan; and Michael Vogel, a native of Czechoslovakia who was interned at Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II and was the only member of his family to survive the camps.

DePauw also recognized four retiring faculty members.  Pictured above, left-to-right, they are: Walker Gilmer, professor of English since 1963; Ralph Gray, professor of economics and management since 1965; Eugene P. Schwartz, professor of chemistry since 1962; and Robert O. Weiss, professor of communication arts and sciences since 1955.

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