Distributed May 7, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Kristen Cole

The 234th Commencement

Upholding Brown tradition, two seniors will address graduating class

Maithili Parekh of Bombay, India, and Edward Smith of Washington, D.C., will deliver orations during Brown’s 234th Commencement, Monday, May 27, 2002, at 10:15 a.m. in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Following a long-standing tradition, two members of the Class of 2002 will be the senior orators during Brown University’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony. Maithili Parekh of Bombay, India, and Edward Smith, of Washington, D.C. will deliver the senior orations during the University’s 234th Commencement exercises.

A committee of faculty and students chose the pair from 89 applicants. Parekh and Smith will address a packed audience of undergraduate classmates, honorary degree recipients and their own parents Monday, May 27, 2002, at 10:15 a.m., in the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America.

The orations are a ceremonial high point of Commencement Weekend’s events, which include forum discussions, a baccalaureate address, and the presentation of honorary degrees. Since Brown’s earliest days, graduating seniors have been the principal Commencement speakers.

The Class of 2002 will march in a procession with alumni, faculty and parent educators, down College Hill to the Meeting House for the speeches and then return to The College Green for the University ceremony, including the awarding of honorary degrees.

Because the Meeting House is large enough to hold only the graduates and a few guests, the orations will be simulcast to The College Green, where parents, friends and guests of the University will gather. Closed captioning will be provided. In case of rain, the simulcast will be offered in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green.

Maithili Parekh

Parekh will talk about her experience as an international student at Brown and the confluence of differences at the University. An international relations concentrator, Parekh has been involved in many aspects of Brown’s international student community. She was a founder and coordinator of the International Mentoring Program, a peer-support program for about 150 incoming international freshmen each year at Brown. During the last two years, Parekh also served as an undergraduate representative on the Advisory Committee on University Planning (ACUP), and requested an increase in financial aid for international students. Additionally, Parekh served as president of the Brown International Organization, which plans activities for the diverse group of Brown’s more than 600 international students. She served as an academic chair for the South Asian Students Organization and a Meiklejohn Advisor to the academic concerns of first-year students. Parekh will work at Morgan Stanley for a year after graduation. She is the daughter of Apurva and Kalpana Parekh, of Bombay, India.

Edward Smith

Smith’s oration will focus on the theme of finding new homes. A political science concentrator, Smith worked in the nation’s capital during each summer break from the University. Most recently, he worked as a Royce Fellow to determine how to improve the relationship between independent mentoring programs for high school students and the public school system. That research laid the groundwork for his senior thesis “Breaking Barriers: The Roles of Tutors/Mentors in District of Columbia Public Schools.” During his two other summer breaks, Smith worked in the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity reading discrimination claims, and in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr on the Whitewater Investigation. Throughout his years at Brown, Smith competed in the 400-meter event as a member of the University’s track team. Smith plans to begin Harvard Law School in the fall. He is the son of Gary and Celeste Smith of Washington, D.C.