Shepherd University's 143rd commencement ceremony will be help at 1:50 p.m. in the James A. and Evelyn R. Butcher Center on May 7.

Kamenica Named Commencement Speaker

EmirKamenicaEmir Kamenica, professor of economics at The Booth School of Economics at the University of Chicago, is set to be this year’s commencement speaker.

Kamenica will address graduating students, their guests and faculty members on May 10 at Shepherd’s 141st Commencement ceremony.

According to a press release from the university, Kamenica is a war refugee from the former Yugoslavia. He received an AB degree in applied mathematics and a PhD in economics, both from Harvard. Kamenica is now a tenured full professor at the relatively young age of 36.

In an email interview with The Picket, Kamenica described why he has dedicated nearly his entire life to education. Simply put, “for the delight of it.”

“We are all quite lucky to live in a world that is so immensely interesting. Every time I learn something new, the world reveals itself as being even more quirky and wonderful than I thought.”

When asked what advice he would give to rising class members, he replied: “Throw away your television. Spend any time you might have spent watching sports, reading.”

Chris Ames, vice president of academic affairs, praised the academic work Kamenica has completed.

“Dr. Kamenica’s accomplishments in behavioral economics are extremely impressive, but I think Shepherd graduates will be especially inspired by the story of how he took advantage of his intelligence and his educational opportunities to cope with his displacement from his home country as a refugee from Bosnia at age 14.”

John Isner, a graduating senior and vice president of the Student Government Association, said he is exceptionally pleased to have Kamenica at Shepherd. “I think we are extremely lucky to have such a great speaker” for commencement. “The life story of this individual paired with his intellect will make for a great speech.”

Melanie Snyder, who will be graduating with a BA in English, called Kamenica “one of those amazing individuals who comes from terrible circumstances and ends up building an amazing career that has an impact on his fellow humans.” She called Shepherd “lucky” to host him.

Vicky Faith, a graduating senior who will receive a BA in English with a minor in women’s studies, believes his “studies in gender differences are absolutely fascinating.” She hopes some of his research will “help us to understand and correct the unequal status of women.”

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