The University of Montana will hold its 113th commencement ceremony Saturday on the UM Oval in front of Main Hall - a first for the university.

More than 3,000 graduates are invited to participate in the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. Graduates who plan to take part will line up at 8:45 a.m. near the Lommason Center. Guests and family members are asked to be seated by 9:20 a.m. The faculty and graduate processional begins at 9:30 a.m.

This year's commencement speaker is the university's longest-serving president, George M. Dennison, who plans to retire Aug. 15, 2010 - 20 years from the day he became UM's 16th president.

Large video screens will flank the main stage, and an additional video screen will be placed at the center of the Oval for better viewing of the central commencement ceremony. A concert sound system will provide high-quality audio.

The central commencement ceremony also will be simulcast via the Internet on large screens in the following campus locations: North Underground Lecture Hall, Urey Lecture Hall, Clapp Building Room 131, Chemistry Building Room 123, Liberal Arts Building Room 11, McGill Hall Room 210 and Social Science Building rooms 352 and 356. A campus map is available online at


Individual ceremonies for professional schools will begin at 11:30 a.m. Individual ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Technology will begin at 1:30 p.m. Each ceremony will last about one hour. More details about commencement are on the UM Registrar's Office website at


UM will present four honorary degrees this year. Recipients are Robert S. Bennett, one of the nation's most prominent attorneys and a generous and dedicated friend of UM, Honorary Doctor of Law; Stewart M. Brandborg, a leader in the American conservation movement, Honorary Doctor of Science; John Hollenback, a lifelong Montanan who has worked tirelessly to steward state lands, Honorary Doctor of Science; and Matt McCann, a former state representative and champion of higher education, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Commencement weekend gets under way with class reunions, receptions and open houses on Friday.

Dennison will host a free continental breakfast for graduates and their guests from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the University Center Atrium.

Commencement weekend concludes with the ROTC Commissioning at 6 p.m. Saturday outside Schreiber Gymnasium.

Continuous bus service to campus from Park-N-Ride lots on East Broadway and at Dornblaser Field will begin at 7:25 a.m. Saturday. Information about services for guests with disabilities or mobility concerns is available by calling UM Disability Services for Students at 243-2243. UM's Access Map with information about physical accessibility on campus is online at

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