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Wayne State University commencement ceremonies celebrate class of 2013

Music legend Sixto Rodriguez and local businessman Walter Douglas to receive honorary degrees

April 29, 2013

More than 3,500 students will participate in two Wayne State University spring commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 9, 2013. The ceremonies, which will conclude the university's 145th academic year, will be held at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

The ceremonies will be one of the last major university events for President Allan Gilmour, who will retire in June. Gilmour stepped in to lead WSU in 2010 on an interim basis and was unanimously voted in as the institution’s 11th president in January 2011.

Receiving honorary doctoral degrees will be famed Detroit folk singer Sixto Rodriguez and local businessman and community leader Walter E. Douglas.

Rodriguez, who earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from WSU in 1981, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his musical genius and commitment to social justice. Rodriguez, the star of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has remained politically involved and connected to the Detroit community, living humbly in the city, running for Detroit City Council and working to improve conditions for the inner-city working class.

Douglas will receive a Doctor of Laws degree for his years of service to the city of Detroit and his many entrepreneurial achievements, as well as his devotion to philanthropy throughout the city and beyond. Douglas is chairman of the board and majority stockholder of Avis Ford, a Southfield Michigan automobile dealership.

Media planning to attend the ceremonies should RSVP by emailing Jessica Archer at

May 2013 Commencement Ceremony schedule:

10:00 a.m.
College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
College of Liberal Arts and Science
School of Library and Information Science
School of Medicine (Ph.D./Master's Candidates)
College of Nursing
Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

4:00 p.m.
School of Business Administration
College of Education
College of Engineering
School of Social Work