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 UMD News Releases

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

May 5, 2009
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830

Amherst, Wisconsin Native James Cook to be Student Speaker
at UMD Undergraduate Commencement
May 16
12 noon
at the DECC

UMD's Largest Ceremony Ever

Amherst, Wisconsin native James Cook will be the student speaker at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) undergraduate commencement ceremonies, May 16. Mr. Cook is graduating in the UMD School of Fine Arts and the UMD College of Liberal Arts. He will receive a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art with departmental honors, and a bachelor of arts degree in communication.

The UMD Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony is set for Saturday, May 16 at 12 noon at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). This will be UMD's largest commencement ever with 1,200 students and over 100 faculty members marching in the event. Total number of students receiving undergraduate degrees this academic year is 1,800.

Lois and Jeno Paulucci well-known civic leaders, humanitarians and internationally recognized entrepreneurs will be honored during the ceremony. Mrs. Paulucci will be presented the Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award, and Mr. Paulucci will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for public service by UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin. The honorary degree is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in cultural affairs, in public service, or in a field of knowledge and scholarship.

Lois and Jeno Paulucci have worked together in their 62 years of marriage as civic leaders in Northeastern Minnesota. As a team, they have developed the food industry career of Jeno Paulucci, who is one of the nation's most influential business leaders and an internationally recognized entrepreneur, activist and humanitarian.

From their humble roots in Northeastern Minnesota, the Pauluccis have created and have built more than 50 companies and organizations worldwide, which led to economic opportunities for thousands of workers.

Over the years, Jeno and Lois Paulucci have quietly helped hundreds of people when faced with personal hardships, from providing transportation for seeking medical care to financial help during a crisis. In 2006, the Pauluccis were main supporters in the construction of the Solvay Hospice House, the first residential hospice house in Duluth.

In 2001, Lois Paulucci spearheaded development of Duluth's Bayfront Park. The Paulucci Hall in the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center recognizes their efforts in the original construction of the complex in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Jeno Paulucci helped lead the legislative efforts for establishment of the UMD Medical School. Over the years, the Pauluccis have received many local, national and international awards.

In 2004, Jeno Paulucci was named the Number One Overall Entrepreneur in the World by Ernst & Young, the global accounting and business services organization. At the same time, Jeno Paulucci became the first recipient of the International Lifetime Achievement Award for Activism, Entrepreneurship and Leadership. This was the first such award in Ernst & Young's 20-year history of honoring entrepreneurs from all parts of the world. Jeno Paulucci has served as a presidential economic adviser for more than 50 years, and he twice served as a presidential emissary to Italy. In the late 1950s, he founded the North Eastern Minnesota Organization for Economic Education, which led to the passing of the Taconite Amendment and the revival of the iron ore industry. In 1975, Jeno Paulucci founded the National Italian American Foundation, a non-profit organization that represents 25 million Italian Americans and has served as the catalyst for the formation of other U.S. ethnic organizations.

Lois and Jeno Paulucci live in Duluth. They have three children: Michael (Mick) Paulucci, Cindy Paulucci Selton, and Gina Paulucci, and four grandchildren.

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