April 28, 1997

Federal judge, philanthropist to receive honorary degrees at WSU commencement May 6

More than 2,800 Wayne State University students will celebrate a milestone in their lives Tuesday, May 6, when they receive degrees during spring commencement ceremonies beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Detroit's Cobo Arena.

Assisted by deans of the university's schools and colleges, WSU President David Adamany will confer 1,483 bachelor's, 1,303 master's, 83 doctoral and three advanced pharmacy degrees. The biannual graduation event likely will be the last at which Adamany will preside. He has announced he will step down from the presidency later this year.

Receiving honorary degrees will be Julian Abele Cook Jr., senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and Bernice Gershenson of Bloomfield Hills, community activist and philanthropist.

Judge Cook, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree, was appointed to the U.S. district bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Prior to that he was in private practice. He served as chief judge of the court for seven years.

He is a past chairman of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and was special assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan from 1968-78. He serves on the boards of the Detroit Medical Center and Hutzel Hospital and has been involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations during the past 25 years.

Gershenson will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. She is well-known in the Detroit area for her involvement in numerous civic organizations She is a board member for WSU's Merrill-Palmer Institute, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan Opera Theater, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Children's Center.

She was on the original committee to raise funds for a cancer-fighting superconducting cyclotron at Harper Hospital and made a major financial contribution to the effort. The WSU Gershenson Radiation Oncology Center is named after the family in recognition of outstanding support.

Seniors Christopher Apap of Wixom and Maureen Murphy of Lathrup Village will receive Howard A. Donnelley Awards, signifying exceptional scholastic achievement, leadership and service.

Apap will receive a bachelor's degree summa cum laude with majors in honors English and American studies. He is a WSU Presidential Scholar and has held several offices in the Golden Key National Honor Society.

He is a recipient of the WSU Student Leadership Award and the French department Scholar Award, among other honors. He also served on the English department's Undergraduate Committee.

He was editor of the Wayne Literary Review for two years and served on the Student Newspaper Publication Board for three years, including a stint as chairman.

Murphy will receive a bachelor's degree cum laude in political science. She is a member of the Student Council, College of Liberal Arts Student Senate and the University Student Due Process Committee. She also served on the political science department's Chair Review Committee and Chair Search Committee.

She is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, the Political Science Honor Society and the Pre-Law Fraternity. She also wrote for The South End, the student newspaper.

She has been active in the youth Urban Agenda, fund-raising efforts for FOCUS: Hope and as a volunteer for the Coalition on Temporary Shelter.

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