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U.Va. Announces 2005 Finals Weekend Speakers
Pulitzer Prize-Winner Ron Suskind to Give Valedictory Address on May 21;
Dr. Vivian W. Pinn to Give Commencement Address on May 22

January 31, 2005 --


The University of Virginia has announced the speakers for Finals Weekend 2005. U.Va.'s Class of 2005 has chosen Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind to be the featured speaker at Valedictory Exercises on May 21. He will speak on the Lawn at 11 a.m.

Suskind graduated from U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences in 1981. He is the author of "A Hope in the Unseen, An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League." The book was launched by a series in the Wall Street Journal that won him the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

His latest book, "The Price of Loyalty, George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill," is a sweeping tour of the inner working of the Bush administration. A New York Times No. 1 best seller, it follows the two-year career arc of Paul O'Neill, the former Treasury Secretary and a principal of the National Security Council. The book won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award as the best book of the 2004.

From 1993 to 2000, Suskind was the senior national affairs writer for the Wall Street Journal. He was a contributor to "Profiles in Courage for Our Times," (Hyperion, 2002), along with other prize-winning authors. He currently writes for various national magazines, including the New York Times Magazine and Esquire Magazine. Suskind frequently appears on ABC as a commentator on national affairs and is a distinguished visiting scholar at Dartmouth College.

For more information call Katherine Shea, president of the class of 2005, at (434) 297-8087 or Sally Wood, graduation committee chairperson, at (434) 297-8086.


Dr. Vivian W. Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health, will be the commencement speaker at the University of Virginia's Final Exercises on Sunday, May 22, President John T. Casteen III announced today. Pinn will speak on the Lawn at 10 a.m., following the traditional academic procession.

A 1967 graduate of the University's School of Medicine, Pinn was the only woman and minority student in her class. In the 176-year history of U.Va.'s commencement, Pinn will be the first African-American female speaker.

Pinn, who has a long list of firsts behind her name, also became the first full-time director of ORWH in 1991. As director of the federal agency that funds medical and scientific research, she manages a division that seeks to improve the health of women through research. The office also encourages and supports leadership development among women in medicine and other sciences.

Born in Halifax, Va., in 1941, she is the daughter and granddaughter of teachers. She was an academic standout, attending segregated public schools and, winning a scholarship to Wellesley College, a women's liberal arts college in Massachusetts.

Pinn decided to pursue medicine after leaving college briefly to return home and care for her sick mother, who had a bone tumor that spread before it was diagnosed as serious.

Following medical school, she went on to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School for her residency and a research fellowship. Specializing in renal pathology, she joined the faculty at Tufts University in Boston in 1970, and Howard University in 1982, where she was the first black woman to head the pathology department.

Pinn was the recipient of U.Va.'s second annual Distinguished Alumna Award in 1992, and in 1998 was honored by U.Va.'s medical school as one of its Alumni Luminaries. In  2001, Pinn was honored by U.Va.'s School of Medicine with a lectureship named in her honor.

She is a member of several professional and scientific organizations, in which she has held many leadership positions. She served as the 88th President of the National Medical Association from 1989 to 1990, and also was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Pinn has received numerous honors, awards and recognitions, and has accepted seven Honorary Degrees of Laws and Science since 1992.

In 1994, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1995, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine. She received an Alumni Achievement Award from Wellesley College in 1993, and currently serves on the Wellesley College Board of Trustees.

Other recent awards and recognitions include: selected the 1997 Excellence in Leadership in the Public Sector Honoree by the National Women's Economic Alliance Foundation; the American College of Physicians' James D. Bruce Memorial Award in 1998 for distinguished contributions in preventive medicine; the Athena Award from the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University in 1999; and the Catherine McFarland Award from the University of Pennsylvania for distinguished service in women's health in 2000.

Contact: Katherine Thompson Jackson, (434) 924-3629

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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