Mark G. McNamee, senior vice president and provost at Virginia Tech, will deliver the keynote address at Virginia Tech’s 2012 Graduate School Commencement ceremony to be held Friday, May 11.

The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Cassell Coliseum located on the Blacksburg campus. Approximately 1,000 Virginia Tech graduate students are expected to complete their degree requirements and participate in the ceremony.

The Graduate School Commencement ceremony will be broadcast live via Web streaming from the university homepage.

“Provost McNamee has been a vigorous supporter of graduate education at Virginia Tech," said Karen DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education. "His commitment to growth in doctoral programs, interdisciplinarity, and the quality of the graduate student experience has propelled Virginia Tech to a leadership position.”

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2001, McNamee is the university's chief academic officer responsible for all undergraduate, graduate, research, and outreach programs. He also is a tenured professor of biochemistry and biological sciences.

McNamee received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Stanford University in 1973. He then served two years as a postdoctoral associate at Columbia University.

At Virginia Tech, McNamee has extended the university's efforts to expand research opportunities in biomedical and health sciences, bioinformatics, information technology, and nanotechnology. He led the effort to restructure the schools and colleges in order to position Virginia Tech for enhanced excellence across the disciplines, and his work resulted in one of the largest reorganizations in the university's history. He has also played a critical role in diversifying the university's ranks.

McNamee is a board member of the National Institute of Aerospace, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the Taubman Museum of Art. He also served as principal investigator of the National Science Foundation AdvanceVT program.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, McNamee spent 26 years at the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) where he served from 1993 to 2001 as dean of the Division of Biological Sciences. He chaired the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics from 1990 to 1993. 

He began his career as an assistant professor of biochemistry at UC Davis in 1975, was promoted to associate professor in 1980, and to full professor in 1985. His research focused on the structure and function of biological membranes, with an emphasis on acetylcholine receptors in the nervous system. 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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