CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will bestow about 3,400 degrees on June 13 during its 130th annual commencement. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in Gill Coliseum and will be broadcast live over Oregon Public Broadcasting.

OSU is one of the few major universities in the country to hand out students' actual degrees instead of certificates at commencement. Of the 3,400 degrees to be awarded, 285 students will graduate cum laude.

Oregon State traditionally has not had a featured commencement speaker, though OSU President Paul G. Risser and others will briefly address the audience.

The first large class to graduate from the University Honors College will be a feature of this year's commencement. Forty-eight students will receive honors degrees and their futures are bright, according to Jon "Joe" Hendricks, dean of the college.

"To date, we have a 100 percent acceptance rate to professional and graduate schools, and our graduates do very well with job placements as well," Hendricks said. "This is a highly motivated and competent group who take their responsibilities seriously.

"Among the students graduating this year - all of whom have had to do a significant senior project - there may be another Linus Pauling, or Carl Sagan, or Sally Ride."

The OSU Statewide program, an educational outreach effort to share the university's resources with Oregonians all over the state, will be well represented at commencement. Perhaps the most comprehensive and ambitious program of extended education in Oregon, OSU Statewide uses a variety of technologies and other tools to literally make a college degree possible in any corner of the state.

One OSU Statewide graduate is Kevin Kraly, who will receive a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies. The Redmond, Ore., resident, who is blind, was able to combine computer technology with OSU courses offered with its partner, Central Oregon Community College, to complete his degree. He plans to continue his education and pursue an elementary education teaching certificate so that he may achieve his long-term goal of working with young students who are blind.

In addition to the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to be awarded, the university will give out special honors, including four honorary doctorates and a Distinguished Service Award.

Receiving honorary doctorates will be Paul G. Hawken, founder of the U.S. version of The Natural Step, an organization created to share understanding about sustainable development among corporations; Admiral James D. Watkins, former Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of Energy; and Anne and Paul Erhlich of Stanford University, who have been called the "nation's first couple of environmental research."

The university will present its sole Distinguished Service Award to Donald M. Kerr, founder and president emeritus of The High Desert Museum in Bend. Under Kerr's leadership, the museum has grown into a leading educational and economic force in the region. He is a 1969 OSU graduate with degrees in journalism and biology.

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Barbara Balz, 541-737-4048