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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 4, 2001
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218-726-8830

Judge Gerald W. Heaney to Speak at
UMD Commencement May 12
To Be Awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree

Senior U.S. Eighth Circuit Court Judge Gerald W. Heaney will be the featured speaker at UMD commencement ceremonies set for Saturday, May 12 at 12 noon at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). The announcement was made by Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin who also stated that during the ceremonies, Judge Heaney will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree for Public Service, the university's highest award.

Chancellor Martin said, "Judge Heaney is an outstanding civic and judicial leader, both regionally and nationally. He is a true friend to the University, and has been a strong and effective advocate for higher education."

A decorated World War II veteran, Judge Heaney has been a Duluth area resident since 1945. His many years of public service include serving as a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents; drafting law to create the Duluth Port Authority; helping to secure funds for many programs and buildings at the University of Minnesota Duluth; and serving on dozens of boards and committees. In December of 1966, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Judge Heaney to the U. S. Court of appeals for the Eighth Circuit. While Judge Heaney took senior status in December of 1988, he continues to maintain 80 percent of his caseload.

Throughout his many years on the bench, Judge Heaney has demonstrated a unique interest and an unusual compassion for others through judicial opinions that reflect his philosophy that every person is entitled to an equal opportunity for an education, a job and a home.

Duluth business leader, Paul Vesterstein will be presented the UMD Distinguished Alumni Award. The May 12th ceremonies will include 735 graduates along with 90 faculty members.

Separate Graduate School commencement ceremonies ( which include 135 masters degree and four doctoral candidates) will be held on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. in the UMD Romano Gymnasium. Speaker for the event will be Professor Tom Johnson, director of the Large Lakes Observatory and winner of the Spring 2001 Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Research. Dr. Johnson is a professor in the UMD Department of Geological Sciences.

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