Nearly 3,800 are completing degrees this semester

Nearly 3,800 students are completing degrees at Iowa State this spring and many of them will celebrate the accomplishment at a graduation ceremony this weekend.

An anticipated 157 Ph.D. students and 407 master's students will be honored during the graduate ceremony, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, in Hilton Coliseum. Professor of accounting Labh Hira will address the graduates. Hira, who planned to resign June 30 from his position as dean of the College of Business, did so a few months early when he was asked to serve as interim president of the ISU Foundation in March.

At noon Saturday, May 5, in Stephens Auditorium, 144 veterinary medicine students will receive their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine diplomas. The graduates include 22 University of Nebraska students who completed their last two years at Iowa State. Dr. Nick Trout will give the commencement address. Trout is a small pets surgeon at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, a contributing columnist for The Bark magazine and author of three best-selling books, Tell Me Where It Hurts, Love is the Best Medicine and Ever By My Side.

And at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Hilton, an estimated 3,079 undergraduates will receive bachelor's degrees. Craig Lang of Brooklyn, an Iowa State alumnus and recently re-elected president of the State Board of Regents – the university's citizen governing board -- will give the commencement address.

Tickets are not required for any of the commencement ceremonies.

Honorary degrees

At the undergraduate ceremony Saturday, Daniel Gianola will receive a Doctor of Science honorary degree for his contributions to animal genetics and statistics, and George Belitsos will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters for his advocacy for, and service to, Iowa teens and families.

Gianola currently is a professor in three departments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison: animal science, dairy science and biostatistics and medical informatics. Twenty years ago, he introduced a statistics method that greatly improved the analysis of animal breeding. His work in genetics and statistics builds on the foundation established at Iowa State by Jay Lush from 1930 to 1966.

Belitsos is the founder (1976) and chief executive officer of Ames-based Youth and Shelter Services. Today, YSS is funded by more than $14 million in grants and contracts and serves more than 7,000 young people -- the homeless, youth with drug abuse problems, youth aging out of foster care, youth with chronic mental illness or severe behavior problems -- at 20 service centers in central Iowa.

Special events

Iowa State colleges will hold separate events May 4-5 to honor their own graduating students. A full schedule of commencement events is online.

Additionally, Iowa State's 15th annual Lavender Graduation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. It honors graduating members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally communities. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. All are welcome to attend.

The ISU Alumni Association will host a reception for all graduates and their families at the alumni center. It will begin immediately following the undergraduate ceremony Saturday afternoon. It's free for all 2012 graduates, whether they're ISUAA members or not.