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NC State Announces Dr. John Seely Brown as Spring Commencement Speaker

Dr. John Seely Brown, independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation and a visiting scholar and advisor to the provost at the University of Southern California, will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 9, at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.

Prior to his position at Deloitte, Brown was the chief scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) – a position he held for nearly two decades. While head of PARC, Brown expanded the role of corporate research to include such topics as organizational learning, knowledge management, complex adaptive systems and nano/mems technologies. He was a co-founder of the Institute for Research on Learning. His personal research interests include the management of radical innovation, digital youth culture, digital media and new forms of communication and learning.

Brown is a member of the National Academy of Education; a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and a trustee of the MacArthur Foundation. He serves on numerous private and public boards for companies such as Amazon, Corning and Varian Medical Systems. Brown has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and was awarded the Harvard Business Review’s 1991 McKinsey Award for his article, “Research that Reinvents the Corporation” and again in 2002 for his article, “Your Next IT Strategy.”

Brown received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1962 in mathematics and physics and a Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 1970 in computer and communication sciences. Brown will receive an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree.

During the ceremony, Chancellor James Oblinger will confer honorary degrees on behalf of NC State to Brown and two other distinguished recipients: Sarita E. Brown, founding president of Excelencia in Education and a leader in the effort to raise academic achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students, and Dr. Wayne Fuller, Emeritus Distinguished Professor in Statistics and Economics at Iowa State University.

Sarita E. Brown has spent more than two decades at prominent national educational institutions and at the highest levels of government, working to implement effective strategies to raise academic achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students. Currently, she serves as founding president of Excelencia in Education, an organization that works to accelerate Latino success in higher education by linking research, policy and practice to serve Latino students. From 1997 to 2000, she served as executive director of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans under President Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Dr. Wayne Fuller has published numerous articles in time series econometrics, measurement error, survey sampling and environmental statistics. He has held teaching positions at Stanford University, the University of Southampton, U.K., and the University of New England, Australia. Fuller also served as a visiting professor at North Carolina State University. Fuller is the author of Introduction to Statistical Time Series and Measurement Error Models. He is currently working on the text, Sampling Statistics. Fuller is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Econometric Society, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Fuller attended Iowa State University for three years before serving in the U.S. Army for two years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Ph.D., both in agricultural economics. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree.

For more information about NC State’s spring 2009 commencement activities, visit

– barnhill –

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