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Summer commencement marks graduation for 2500 students

More than 2,500 Florida State University students will graduate this summer and at least 1,300 of them are expected to participate in the 2010 summer commencement ceremony, to be held on Saturday, Aug. 7, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.

Florida State President Eric J. Barron will preside at the ceremony, which will be webcast at

Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum

The scheduled commencement speaker is Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness for the U.S. Army. A physician who completed a general surgery internship at Walter Reed Medical Center and later became Board certified in urology, Cornum began her distinguished military career in 1978 after she earned a Ph.D. in nutrition and biochemistry from Cornell University. In addition to her senior flight-surgeon wings, Cornum has been awarded the Legion of Merit (with two oak leaf clusters), Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with four oak leaf clusters), Purple Heart, Air Medal and POW Medal, among other military decorations.

As a flight surgeon in 1991 during the Gulf war, then Maj. Cornum was part of a combat search and rescue crew that was searching for a downed Air Force F-16 pilot when their Blackhawk helicopter came under fire and went down in Iraq. With two broken arms and other serious injuries sustained in the crash, Cornum was captured by Iraqi forces and held as a POW, along with the two other surviving crewmembers. She was released eight days later. Her memoir, "She Went to War," was published the following year.

In 2000, Cornum took command of the 28th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Bragg, N.C. She deployed as the Medical Task Force Commander to Bosnia, and deployed three subordinate units to Afghanistan for operation Enduring Freedom. She attended the National War College, graduating in 2003. Cornum then commanded Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (Germany) during the period of time that more than 26,000 soldiers evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan were treated there. Prior to assuming her current duties, Cornum served as the U.S. Army Forces Command Surgeon at Fort McPherson, Ga., and as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Protection, overseeing the overall management of the Army-wide health services system.

In addition to the Aug. 7 ceremony at the Civic Center, the following Florida State commencement-related events will take place on campus:

  • Four Army ROTC cadets will be commissioned as second lieutenants at the Commissioning Ceremony held by the Department of Military Science on Saturday, Aug 7, at 2 p.m. in the Broad Auditorium at the Claude Pepper Center, 636 West Call St. The scheduled speaker is Col. William W. Francis II, professor of aerospace studies at Florida State.
  • The College of Motion Picture Arts — better known as The Film School — will hold a ceremony for its Master of Fine Arts graduates on Saturday, Aug. 7, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Askew Student Life Cinema, located in the Askew Student Life Center at 942 Learning Way. Later that day, in the same cinema, premiere screenings of the MFA thesis films will be held in two parts, at 2:15 p.m. and at 8 p.m. These screenings are closed to the public, due to space constraints. However, a second screening of the full program will be held on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 4 p.m. This screening is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

By Libby Fairhurst