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

May 3, 2004
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218 726-8830
Cesar Pelli, Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects, New Haven Connecticut 203 777-2515 to view the Weber Music Hall

World-Renowned Architect Cesar Pelli to Speak
at UMD Commencement Ceremonies
May 15

Largest Commencement in UMD History

Pelli to be Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Mary Ann and Ronald Weber to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

World-renowned architect, Cesar Pelli will be the featured speaker at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Commencement Ceremonies set for Saturday, May 15 at 12 noon in the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). The ceremony will be the largest baccalaureate commencement in UMD's history with 1,058 graduates taking part.

Pelli, who designed UMD's stunning new, acoustically exceptional Weber Music Hall, and whose architectural masterpieces are located through-out the world, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for cultural contributions. In 1991 Pelli was named one of the ten most influential living American architects.

Upon completion of Weber Music Hall-calling it "his little building", Pelli said, "I am extrmemely proud of Weber Hall. It will prove to be the finest small concert hall in America. The experience of the space is as exhilarating as the music being played in it" Cesar Pelli, Ocotber 2002

UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin said, "We are very proud to honor Cesar Pelli for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of architecture as well as his many contributions as a scholar and as a mentor. He has touched the lives of many, and his extraordinary vision will live on through his former students, his colleagues and his exceptional work."

Weber Music Hall benefactors, Mary Ann and Ronald Weber will be presented the Distinguished Alumni Award. School of Fine Arts, magna cum laude graduate Jocelyn Marie Wegren of Duluth will be the student speaker.

Cesar Pelli
Cesar Pelli is an internationally recognized architect who has shaped the Urban Landscape around the world during his distinguished design career.

A native of Argentina, he studied architecture in Tucuman at the Universidad Nacional, graduating in 1949. He emigrated to the United States in 1952, and he received his master?s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Pelli taught at the University of Illinois and began as an apprentice with Eero Saarinen in 1954 before moving to Los Angeles to join the firms of Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall from 1964 to 1968 and Gruen Associates from 1968 to 1976. In 1977, he founded Cesar Pelli & Associates in New Haven, Connecticut. Pelli is an extraordinary scholar in the field of architecture, having helped shape the careers of hundreds of students while serving as the dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University from 1977 to 1984.

He has published several books and numerous articles on the field of architecture, including the 1999 release of Observations for Young Architects. Pelli has received more than 100 awards for design excellence. In 1995, the American Institute of Architects awarded Cesar Pelli the Gold Medal, which recognized a lifetime of distinguished achievement and outstanding contributions. In 1991, Pelli was selected as one of the 10 most influential living American architects. In 1989, the American Institute of Architects awarded Cesar Pelli & Associates its Firm Award in recognition of standard-setting work in architectural design.

At the University of Minnesota Duluth, Cesar Pelli designed the distinctive Weber Music Hall, which opened in the fall of 2002 with rave reviews for acoustical capabilities. Other buildings he has designed in Minnesota include the Norwest (Wells Fargo) building in downtown Minneapolis and the new Minneapolis Public Library. Examples of Pelli?s work make grand statements around the globe, including the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (the world?s tallest buildings), the World Financial Center in New York, the Canary Wharf Tower in London, the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, and Washington National Airport.

Distinguished Alumni Award--Mary Ann and Ronald Weber
The UMD Weber Music Hall, which opened in 2002, is named for Mary Ann and Ronald Weber in honor of major gifts they made toward the design and completion of the building. The couple met while attending UMD in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mary Ann, a Cloquet native, attended UMD on a piano scholarship. She is involved in several civic and cultural organizations and is a current member of the UMD Chancellor?s Council. Ron grew up in Duluth?s Lakeside neighborhood and graduated from UMD in 1952 with a business degree. An avid angler, Ron was introduced in 1959 to a Rapala lure while he was working as an independent fishing tackle representative. Ron traveled to Finland and convinced the Rapala family to move from their home-based business to large scale production. Ron financed the first Rapala Factory in Finland, and he imported and distributed millions of lures through Normark Rapala Group, a company he co-founded in 1960 in the Twin Cities. In the 1990s, Ron sold Normark Rapala Group to the Rapala family interests in Finland. Currently, Ron is involved in several business investments including several in Duluth. The Webers live in Edina, Minnesota.

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