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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes Among Trio of Speakers for ODU’s Commencement Ceremonies

A Virginia congressman, an international economic expert and a veteran military chaplain will deliver the addresses to graduates at Old Dominion University's 118th commencement exercises on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.

For the second straight year, spring commencement is being split into three ceremonies over two days to accommodate the 2,600 undergraduate, master's and doctoral students who are expected to receive degrees at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Friday's 7 p.m. ceremony is for graduates of ODU's largest college, the College of Arts and Letters. Inés Bustillo, director of the Washington office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), will give the commencement address.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., graduates of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, College of Health Sciences and College of Sciences will receive degrees. U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., will be the commencement speaker.

The 2 p.m. ceremony on Saturday will honor graduates of the Darden College of Education and the College of Business and Public Administration. Barry C. Black, chaplain of the United States Senate, will give the commencement address. Black will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Inés Bustillo joined ECLAC in 1989 as economic affairs officer and has served as director of the Washington, D.C., office since 1999. As director, she supervises studies on macroeconomic and international finance issues and on trade and market access, and serves as the ECLAC liaison with the governments of the United States and Canada.

Previously, she was professor of economics at Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico City and a visiting faculty member at American University in Washington. Other positions held include consultant to the World Bank, the Center for Latin American and Monetary Studies, and Operadora de Bolsa in Mexico City. A national of Uruguay, Bustillo will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the commencement ceremony.

An honorary Doctor of Music will be given to composer and conductor John Duffy. Considered "one of the great heroes of American Music," Duffy has composed more than 300 works for symphony, orchestra, opera, theater, television and film. He has received many awards for his contributions to music, including two Emmys, the American Music Center's Founders' Award for Lifetime Achievement and an ASCAP award for special recognition in film and television music.

Duffy lives in Norfolk, Va., and works in conjunction with the Virginia Arts Festival and Old Dominion University on the John Duffy Composers Institute. Founded in 2005, the institute is dedicated to the inspiration, creation and performance of new music by living composers.

Since his election to Congress in 2001, representing Virginia's 4th District, one of J. Randy Forbes' key priorities has been to protect and defend the nation. As chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, he is responsible for the research, development, acquisition and sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force's bomber and tanker fleets. In recognition of his work on behalf of the military, in 2009 Forbes became one of only a few people to have been honored with the highest civilian award offered by both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy.

A lifelong resident of Virginia, Forbes began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. He served in the Virginia General Assembly from 1989 to 2001: the first seven years as a member of the House of Delegates, followed by his election to the Senate in 1997. He served in the Virginia Senate for 3 1/2 years until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Retired Rear Adm. Barry C. Black was elected the 62nd chaplain of the U.S. Senate, an office established in 1789, on June 27, 2003. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, he served in the U.S. Navy for more than 27 years, ending his distinguished career as the chief of Navy chaplains.

A native of Baltimore, Black has been recognized for many outstanding achievements. Of particular note, he was chosen from 127 nominees for the 1995 NAACP Renowned Service Award for his contribution to equal opportunity and civil rights. He also received the 2002 Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Leadership Award from the Morehouse School of Religion. In 2004, the ODU chapter of the NAACP conferred on him its Image Award for military excellence. He is the author of two books, "The Blessing of Adversity" and "From the Hood to the Hill."

For more information about ODU's 118th commencement ceremonies, visit the 2013 commencement Web page: www.odu.edu/commencement.