Whittier College News Release

For Immediate Release - May 12, 1999
Media Contact
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Barry Munitz Will Be Keynote Speaker at Whittier's 96th Commencement

Barry Munitz, president and CEO of the $4.5 billion J. Paul Getty Trust, an international cultural and philanthropic organization, will be the keynote speaker at Whittier College's 96th commencement ceremonies at 9 a.m., on Friday, May 28 in Harris Amphitheater.

Munitz has been with the Getty Trust since July of 1997. A native of New York City, he attended Brooklyn College and then Princeton University, where he earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature. He was a drama and literature professor at the University of California at Berkeley before advancing into academic administration, holding top posts at the University of Illinois and the University of Houston-Central Campus, where he was named chancellor.

In the 1980s, Munitz served as president and chief operating officer of the Federated Development Company, the largest shareholder of MAXXAM Inc., a Fortune 200 company in the aluminum, lumber and real estate business. He returned to academia in 1991 as chancellor of the California State University, the largest system of higher education in the United States. Munitz also served as chief of the transition team for California Governor Gray Davis, who described Munitz as "one of the preeminent educators in America."

During commencement, bachelors degrees will be awarded to more than 275 graduating seniors, and 29 students will receive the Master of Education degree. The honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be given to Munitz, Charlotte D. Graham and Anders Uhrskov.

Graham is a Whittier-area native who has been a tireless supporter of Whittier College. She joined the Whittier College Board of Trustees in 1974 with the ambitious goal of improving athletic facilities. She quickly proceeded to raise $2.5 million for The Donald E. Graham Athletics Center, which was named for her late first husband, and opened in 1979. Since that time, Graham has continued her boundless dedication to the college, acting as chairwoman of the Development Committee, the Advancement Committee, and most recently, the Presidential Selection Committee.

She has also served as a trustee of the South Coast Repertory Theatre, a member of the board of overseers of the House Ear Institute, and is active with the Assistance League of Laguna Beach and the East Whittier Woman's Club. She was married to prominent Whittier ophthalmologist John Fusco until his death in 1994.

Uhrskov was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he began a prolific political and academic career. From 1968 to 1973 he served as a member of the Danish Parliament (Folketing). He also has served as a Danish delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and was co-editor of "Tidens Stemme," a Danish political science journal for 12 years.

Uhrskov was an assistant professor at Denmark's Statens Studenterkursus and has authored several papers on such subjects as Danish and European politics, global trends and the subject of work in contemporary society. Uhrskov's relationship with Whittier College began in 1978 when he became assistant director of the Danish International Study Program (DIS), a study-abroad program established by the college in 1959.

He was named director in 1987, and during his two decades of service to Whittier College, approximately 20 Whittier College faculty members have participated in the unique, deeply touching DIS experience along with several hundred students, who now make up one of the college's most loyal groups of alumni.

Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.

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